Sophomore point guard Ronnie Johnson has been granted his release from the Purdue Boilermakers and intends to transfer. Coach Matt Painter made the announcement on Saturday, just two days after the season came to an end.
“Ronnie has expressed his interest in transferring from our program and we have granted him his release,” Painter said. “We wish Ronnie the best of luck as he continues to pursue his education and basketball career.”
Johnson had initially indicated that he would be back next season following Purdue’s loss to Ohio State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
Johnson averaged 10.8 points this season to go along with 3.7 assists. His older brother, Terone, will graduate in May. Johnson started both seasons while attending Purdue. He saw his minutes drop slightly in his sophomore season, but his numbers largely remained the same.
Rumors started flowing weeks ago as members of Johnson’s family made it clear to teams that he would be available as a transfer soon.
Purdue will be in a bind without Johnson. He was one of three double-digit scores on the team, and one of them is graduating. He also led the team in assists.
Without Johnson, Purdue will be left with just five scholarship players on the roster. There is also some speculation about whether or not center AJ Hammons will leave early for the NBA. Hammons stated after Thursday’s game that he hasn’t made a decision yet on entering the draft.
There were times when Johnson’s immaturity was on display, but he had clearly improved from last season and would likely make another jump next year. There also wasn’t a shortage of problems with the team and losing a two year starter is sure to just compound the issues.
It is another blow to a program that already saw freshman Jay Simpson retire due to a potentially fatal heart defect. The team has four players graduating this May.
We’ll take a look at the incoming class for Purdue in the coming weeks.