Kansas State endured another setback to its basketball roster Wednesday when Nigel Johnson announced that he will transfer.
Johnson, a sophomore point guard who averaged 5.2 points and 1.7 assists, is the fourth player to leave the program since K-State finished a disappointing 15-17 season with a loss to TCU in the Big 12 Tournament. Leading scorer Marcus Foster and freshman shooting guard Tre Harris were dismissed two weeks ago, while starting point guard Jevon Thomas opted to transfer.
The departures give K-State a depleted back court, leaving coach Bruce Weber with one returning scholarship guard — former Maine transfer Justin Edwards — as he prepares for next season.
Johnson spent much of his time as a backup at K-State, but he did start some games and played well near the end of his sophomore year, scoring 20 points in a victory over Kansas and 17 points in a win over Iowa State. Weber argued Johnson should have won Big 12 Player of the Week afterward.
Johnson figured to be in line for increased playing time as a junior, as his main competition would all be newcomers. Instead, he will search for a better role elsewhere. He announced his decision transfer on Twitter.
“After much deliberation, I say farewell,” Johnson wrote. “Thank you to my KSU coaches, my teammates, KSU community, to all my fans & supporters.”
When reached by phone Wednesday, Johnson said he was on his way to class and unable to talk. He did not respond to a text message seeking further comment.
K-State will look different next season without four of its top guards. Throw in the losses of seniors Nino Williams and Thomas Gipson, and K-State is losing a combined 48.7 points from a team that averaged 63. Edwards is the team’s leading returning scorer, averaging 6.3 points as a junior.
Weber, who has declined multiple interview requests through a team spokesman since the season ended, has been busy recruiting replacements.
He has signed St. John forward Dean Wade, Texas center Dante Williams and Florida guard Barry Brown. And he has commitments from Baltimore guard Kamau Stokes and Connors (Okla.) State College point guard Corlbe Ervin. He has two available scholarships.