Coach Steve Fisher confirmed that San Diego State has granted James Johnson his release to transfer to another school. Johnson has been with the Aztecs for the past three seasons, one as a redshirt and two as an active player. He started his collegiate career at the University of Virginia.
The plan is for Johnson to complete his undergraduate degree at San Diego State by attending both sessions of summer school. Upon successful completion, he could transfer to another Division I school and use his final year of eligibility without having to sit out a year.
Johnson was primarily a back-up center who was used sparingly. He picked up minutes in blowout games and when the starting front court got in early foul trouble. Johnson appeared in 17 games this season and averaged 9.1 minutes, 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game.
As a high school player, Johnson was a four-star prospect and rated the No. 8 center in the class of 2010 by Scout.com. The 6-foot-9, 235 pound post player had the size and strength that was sometimes in short supply for the Aztecs, but he wasn't able to earn enough minutes on a very athletic team.
According to Fisher: "He didn't play as much as he wanted or we thought he might, but he did all the things the right way."
This gives San Diego State another scholarship for the upcoming season. The most obvious way to use it would be to award Aqeel Quinn with the scholarship for his senior season. After transferring to San Diego State as a walk-on from Cal State Northridge, Quinn became part of the regular rotation for the Aztecs. He played in 32 games and averaged 16.1 minutes, 5 points and 1.6 rebounds per game. He gives San Diego State some experience at the point guard position to help absorb the loss of Xavier Thames next season.
Given the Aztecs success with transfers, they could decide instead to offer the scholarship to an impact transfer player who comes available.