Forward Brandon Johns Jr. becomes second ex-Wolverine to transfer to VCU this offseason

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Another former Wolverine is heading to VCU.

Forward Brandon Johns Jr., who entered the transfer portal earlier this month after four years at Michigan, announced his commitment to the Rams in an Instagram post late Wednesday night.

Former Michigan forward Brandon Johns Jr. (23) will play his fifth and final college season at VCU.

“I can’t thank the University of Michigan enough for the best four years someone could ask for,” Johns wrote in his Instagram post that featured a photo of him in a VCU jersey.

“The relationships and experiences I have had the opportunity to be a part of will never be forgotten. The next chapter awaits.”

Johns began this past season in the starting lineup with fresh expectations after his strong showing in the 2021 NCAA Tournament. However, he wasn’t able to build off that postseason performance like many had hoped, and he eventually was relegated to a bench role behind freshman forward Moussa Diabate.

Johns played in 31 games, with nine starts, and averaged 3.2 points and two rebounds in 13.3 minutes as a senior. His shooting numbers also dipped as he shot a career-low 39.7% on 2-pointers and 29.4% on 3-pointers.

A former top-75 recruit from East Lansing, Johns had his moments but his production never matched his potential during his time in Ann Arbor. He appeared in 117 total games and made 25 starts over his career, and averaged 3.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 12.6 minutes per contest.

"I think Brandon is like a soda," Michigan assistant coach Phil Martelli said in late February. "You shake that soda up, then you've got to slowly open it or open it quick. That's what it seems to me with Brandon. I think that there have been moments of brilliance. I thought his (NCAA) tournament run last year when Isaiah Livers (was out), it was just terrific. The year before, going into Madison Square Garden and scoring 20, and then hoping that you get that magic as you go."

At VCU, Johns will rejoin former Michigan guard Zeb Jackson, who committed to the Rams on April 2, four days before Johns entered the portal. Johns, a 6-foot-8 forward, is taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19, while Jackson has at least two years of eligibility remaining.

The duo will reunite on a Rams squad that is coming off a 22-10 season, finished second in the Atlantic 10 with a 14-4 mark and reached the second round of the NIT under fifth-year coach Mike Rhoades. One of the members on Rhoades’ staff has a tie to Michigan — director of operations Jimmy Martelli is Phil Martelli’s son.

jhawkins@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @jamesbhawkins