What had been speculated soon after the final buzzer sounded on another disappointing season for Purdue has become reality: Ronnie Johnson will transfer. Official word came from Purdue coach Matt Painter on Saturday.
“Ronnie has expressed his interest in transferring from our program and we have granted him his release,” Painter said in the team release. “We wish Ronnie the best of luck as he continues to pursue his education and basketball career.”
Honestly, this is not a huge loss. With Johnson the past two seasons, Purdue compiled consecutive 15-17 records.
Johnson remained a work-in-progress who never really developed into a playmaker. He often drove recklessly into the lane, throwing up an off-balanced shot or losing the ball.
Johnson wasn’t deft at distributing the ball and making those around him better, which is the goal of a point man. He averaged 10.8 points and 3.7 assists while appearing in all 32 contests with 31 starts. During his two years at Purdue, Johnson appeared in all 66 games, scoring 697 points with 256 assists.
In a postgame press conference following Purdue’s regular-season-finale loss to Northwestern, Painter voiced his displeasure with some of his players, saying, “This isn’t a school district, I recruited these guys.”
Painter has some holes to fill. Sterling Carter, Errick Peck and Terone Johnson (Ronnie’s brother) all were seniors. And Jay Simpson’s career was ended by a health issue. There also is talk of big man A.J. Hammons perhaps turning pro. All told, Purdue could lose six players from this season’s team.
The 2014-15 season will be critical for Painter, as he tries to get the program back on track after a last-place finish this season.
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