UNC Basketball: Cameron Johnson faces big decision for future

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop) Cameron Johnson
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: (EDITORS NOTE: Retransmission with alternate crop) Cameron Johnson /

Will Cameron Johnson come back to UNC or will he test the NBA Draft waters?

As the clock hit zero in North Carolina’s loss to Texas A&M in the NCAA Tournament, a new era officially began.

It was the final game of both Theo Pinson and Joel Berry’s career with the Tar Heels after four years with the program. Now, the program is welcoming in a top 10 recruiting class and likely returning key players such as Luke Maye, Kenny Williams, Cameron Johnson, Garrison Brooks, Sterling Manley, Seventh Woods and Brandon Robinson.

But for one of those players, he may have a big decision to make.

Graduate transfer Cameron Johnson made the choice to transfer to UNC and faced a lengthy battle with his former school Pitt. After he was cleared, Johnson enrolled at UNC and was a key addition to a team coming off a national championship.

These next few weeks will be important as Johnson will have a decision to make on returning to the program or leaving for the NBA Draft.

Johnson might be UNC’s most intriguing NBA prospect on the roster but he’s not guaranteed to take the step to the next level. He could return for his fifth season of college basketball and attempt to polish his game a little more.

The wing spoke after Sunday’s loss and had nothing but positive things to say about this past season.

“I came to a new team and a new environment,” Johnson said Sunday via The Times-News. “Because I really believe Carolina has a really strong basketball culture, and that’s one of the main reasons why I chose Carolina when I decided to come to a new school. To become a part of that, it means a lot. I was honored to be their teammates. I was honored to play for Coach Williams this year. To be a part of a team like this, this year was very special to me.”

The next day he met with head coach Roy Williams as the two discussed the past season and a little bit of the future.

On Williams’ weekly radio show Monday night, he admitted the two met and that “about 2 percent” of the conversation was related to the decision Johnson will face.

Johnson will likely declare for the NBA Draft process but not hire an agent. That allows him to return for another year of eligibility if he pulls out before the deadline.

By doing this, the wing would get a full evaluation by NBA Scouts and even workout at the NBA Scouting Combine. It’s something that benefits both the program and the player.

If Johnson were to test the NBA Draft waters, he would have to declare by 11:59 p.m. ET on April 22nd. After that, he can withdraw by the 5 p.m. ET deadline on June 11th to keep his one year of eligibility remaining.

Johnson would be a big piece for next year’s UNC roster and would start right away. He would join Kenny Williams and Luke Maye as the leaders of that team, which will be key especially with a top 10 recruiting class coming in and experience needed.

Next: Roy Williams visits 5-star recruit

There’s been no indications of any decision from Johnson yet, but we expect one in the next few weeks.