Johnson leaving UVa hoops program

Charlottesville, VA (WWBT)- Red-shirt freshman forward James Johnson will leave the University of Virginia basketball program and transfer to another school.  He becomes the second player in as many days to announce his decision to depart Charlottesville.

Johnson, who red-shirted last season, appeared in six games this season, scoring nine points and pulling down eight rebounds.  He informed head coach Tony Bennett of his decision on Saturday morning, according to a university-issued press release.

Friday saw guard KT Harrell announce that he had left the Virginia program.  Johnson's announcement means that Bennett's initial Virginia recruiting class has gone from six talented players to just two remaining on the roster in Joe Harris and Akil Mitchell.  Guard Billy Baron left the program during last season, and forward Will Regan followed suit following the 2010-2011 campaign.

A total of six players have now transferred under Bennett's watch.  Jeff Jones and Tristan Spurlock, who were Dave Leitao's recruits, left after Bennett's first year in 2009-2010.  Baron and Regan left last season, with Harrell and Johnson departing this week.

Despite the attrition, Bennett's program appears headed in the right direction.   The starters and key role players remain with the program.  The Cavaliers are currently 10-1 on the year and ranked 24th in the country, the program's first national ranking since 2007.  Bennett and the Wahoos have won eight games in a row and will face Maryland-Eastern Shore at home on Tuesday night.

Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.