First, the news:
Xavier has landed Gardner Webb grad transfer Nate Johnson, per source.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) March 28, 2020
6-3, 180, SG
Stats: 13.5 ppg
Scout’s take: “big-time shooter who worked to make himself a good shooter. Really developed in his time at Gardner-Webb. I think he’s a specialist at the high major level.”
Nate Johnson is a 6'3" grad transfer shooting guard out of Miami, FL. He took a redshirt his freshman year, but he has steadily worked himself into a very good shooter for Gardner Webb, knocking down 136 threes in the last two seasons for the Bulldogs.
Johnson is almost purely a catch-and-shoot guy from deep; 129 of his 136 makes have been off of assists. He's not entirely one-dimensional, shooting 102-195 from inside the arc over the last two years. Film shows him working off the bounce and at the rim with either hand and he has a nice floater for pull-up situations.
He's definitely a high-level shooter, but the question is exactly how he will fit on a high-major floor. If he is a turnstile on defense or can't make his secondary skills play on offense, his impact will be limited. He had Arizona, Pitt, and Marquette involved, among others, so apparently Travis Steele wasn't the only high-major coach who thought he could play a bit.
For what it's worth, Bart Torvik's transfercast isn't rosy on what adding Johnson does for Xavier. He has adding Johnson as being worth less than a point in total for Xavier's efficiency margin. He also has the Muskies right near the bubble, where every little bit matters, and he did basically peg Xavier's projection last year, so... take that however you will.
However he impacts next year, Johnson fills a hole that was hamstringing Xavier's offense. With Kyky Tandy presumably ready for a larger role and Paul Scruggs presumably returning, Johnson may be the addition that makes Xavier 100% more tolerable to watch when they start shooting jumpers.
Here's some tape on Johnson. Obviously it's a highlight reel, but his release looks smooth and high and he appears to have more in his bag than just sticking jumpers. He has a reputation as a good defender, and it's clear he has some offensive versatility. This is a good pickup for Xavier who will likely remain active in the transfer market.