Dior Johnson, 18, a former Saugerties High School (SHS) boy’s basketball phenom, is facing a felony charge of strangulation and a misdemeanor charge of simple assault in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania after an alleged incident that occurred during the evening of Monday, September 5 and the following morning. Johnson, was arrested by the Pittsburgh Police Department on Tuesday, October 7.
A charge of felony aggravated assault and misdemeanor charges of unlawful restraint and false imprisonment were dropped by District Judge Mik Pappas during a preliminary hearing on Thursday, October 20, and prosecutors’ hopes of adding a single count of witness intimidation, a felony, was also dashed.
According to the police report, the incident occurred in an apartment at The Bridge on Forbes, an off-campus student housing complex. In a complaint filed by e-mail, the victim stated that Johnson allegedly became angry when she got his phone wet, slapping her face “full force.” The victim then alleged that Johnson took her mobile phone and left the apartment at midnight for around four hours, returning her phone upon his return.
The victim’s statement alleges that at roughly 8:30 a.m. on September 6, Johnson started a verbal argument that continued for around an hour before he allegedly became physical, repeatedly punching her in the arms, stomach and head, causing her to vomit twice. The victim then alleged that when she attempted to call 911, Johnson chased her with a pair of scissors, took her phone and disconnected the emergency call, then threw the device. She then claimed that Johnson forced her head into the bed, making it difficult for her to breathe.
The victim then alleged that Johnson began cutting himself with the scissors, stating that he would tell police that she’d be seen as the aggressor. She claimed he then tried to call out of practice with the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball team before leaving her alone in the apartment. She claimed that’s when she left.
The victim also provided the police with a copy of her medical discharge report from a local hospital where she received treatment for bruises and a concussion.
Though Johnson still appears on the University of Pittsburgh men’s basketball website, he’s been suspended by the team indefinitely since the charges were made public earlier this month and cannot participate in team activities at least until the matter is resolved.
Johnson averaged 31.1 points, 3.5 steals, 3.1 assists and 4.6 rebounds as an eighth-grade Sawyer, helping lead the varsity boys’ team to the Section 9, Class A title game. He amassed 1,098 points in two seasons of varsity basketball at SHS, becoming the youngest-ever boy’s basketball player to cross the 1,000-point threshold in New York State history.
Johnson’s road from Saugerties High to the University of Pittsburgh was decidedly circuitous. Following his second varsity season at Saugerties High, Johnson transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida as a freshman, briefly returning to play for the Sawyers after sustaining an injury. During that same season, he left Saugerties to play for Findlay Prep in Henderson, Nevada; that program shut down at the end of the 2018-19 season. Johnson was then touted to play at Fairfax High School in Los Angeles, California, but instead suited up for Mayfair High in nearby Lakewood. As a junior, Johnson transferred to Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, leaving after another leg injury and settling back in Southern California, this time at Centennial High School in Corona. He left Centennial without ever having played a game. He headed north for the start of his senior year to play for Prolific Prep in Napa before transferring midway through that season to close out his high school career earlier this year at SoCal Academy in Northridge, California.
Johnson’s road to college was similarly serpentine; he committed and then de-committed from both Syracuse University and the University of Oregon before committing to Pitt on June 13, 2022.
Johnson has been inactive on social media for the past few weeks, and was unable to be reached for comment. Pitt Athletics did not return requests for comment.
Johnson, who’s represented by attorney Bob Del Greco, will be formally arraigned on Wednesday, December 7.