Former Holly Names High star Erika Johnson didn’t return to California after the brief holiday break. Instead the guard opted to transfer, beginning the recruiting process over this week.
“Erika has a desire to get closer to home and also to get more immediate time on the court,” said first-year Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb via email. Her Bears (11-5, 2-2 Pac-12) defeated Oregon 90-57 on Saturday behind F Gennifer Brandon’s 17 points and 19 boards. “We totally understand and wish her nothing but success both on and off the court.”
Johnson, who was the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, was part of Cal’s top-ranked recruiting class. But the lack of playing time did bother the freshman and wasn’t going to improve without a fight on the Bears’ youthful, guard-heavy team.
She appeared in seven games, averaging 6.1 minutes, 1.7 points and 1.9 rebounds this season.
But Johnson is hardly looking to play close to home. At least not according to the ESPN website HoopGurlz, which first broke the news of Johnson transferring via Twitter on Saturday.
There was speculation Johnson, who’s 6-foot-1, could want to play at Washington (9-5, 1-3) when both the Bears (Joanne Boyle) and the Huskies (Tia Jackson) went through their coaching changes last season. The Huskies, which lost to Utah in overtime on Saturday, are another guard-heavy team and UW doesn’t have any scholarships this season.
The same goes for UNC. Still, it’s early in the process for Johnson.
*PHOTO CREDIT: G Erika Johnson courtesy of Cal