It’s no surprise that Bob Huggins stayed in the family with his hiring of new WVU basketball assistant DerMarr Johnson.
Johnson was announced as the new assistant on Monday afternoon to replace long-time assistant Larry Harrison. Johnson played under Huggins at Cincinnati from 1999-00, being one of Huggins’ one-and-done players. Johnson, a Washington D.C. native, was drafted No. 6 in the 2000 NBA draft, playing seven seasons in the league.
Johnson joined Bearcats head coach Wes Miller and his staff in 2021. Johnson served as the director of player development. Johnson got his coaching career started under former UC head coach Mick Cronin, serving as a student assistant from 2017-19.
Now Johnson gets to move up and reunite with his old college coach.
“Bittersweet announcement for me. UC is my school. Thank you to the fans for the support during my time here, you have been amazing to me. I will always be a Bearcat. Thank you to coach [Wes] Miller for giving me an opportunity. Thank you to the players for letting me mentor them. I’ll be joining coach Huggins’ staff at West Virginia. Mountaineer nation I’m excited to get to work. Hail WV,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.
First of all, I really like the hire. We all knew Huggins would hire one of his guys, whether that be a former player, former assistant or a West Virginia guy. Johnson is the perfect hire that this program needs currently.
Johnson is 42 years old. This staff needed to get younger in some way and they did. Johnson is going to be able to relate to college-aged players. The former Bearcat guard is going to be able to pitch his professional career to a high school prospect considering coming to West Virginia. Johnson knows what it’s like being recruited by a Huggins staff. He’s going to know what to do. Johnson is a former McDonald’s All-American and a top draft pick. The Washington D.C. native will be familiar with the DMV area for recruiting.
During Johnson’s two-year tenure at Cincinnati, the staff has been able to develop David Dejulius, Viktor Lahkin, Mika Adams-Woods, Jeremiah Davenport and others. Despite the coaching change from John Brannen to Miller in 2021, UC has been able to retain their underclassmen and develop through high school and transfer portal recruiting.
“He’s extremely well-liked by former players, coaches and fans alike. He has a tremendous presence in the Washington, D.C. area, being one of the most-recognized athletes to come out of there in a long time. I’m thrilled that he’s joining our program and look forward to him getting on the court,” Huggins said.
Johnson will be able to join the current team once all policies and procedures adopted by the University for new hires are complete.
For Huggins to hire in-house, it’s a good hire of new blood that’s hungry for coaching success.
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