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Boiling Point


Ronnie Johnson granted release

At first glance, Ronnie Johnson's decision to transfer leaves Purdue in a bad place.

After two years of grooming Johnson at point guard, the Boilermakers are back to square one. They now must replace both starting guards before next season.

Sure, Bryson Scott can play point, but his ballhandling numbers were not strong as a freshman, and he'll have to improve as a shooter.

P.J. Thompson is a decent recruit, but freshmen take enough lumps as it is. Entrusting the offense to one is never an ideal solution, especially in the deepest league in the country and on a team whose turnover rate is already too high.

Johnson himself had plenty of weaknesses, though. Was he really moving the needle much for Purdue?

Defensively, Johnson remained inconsistent, had issues guarding size with his 6-foot frame and lack of strength and rarely got his hands on balls. Only 16 steals in 901 minutes for a quick guard? That indicates Johnson needs to step up his effort level.

On offense, Johnson has trouble finishing, and his outside shot isn't close to being a real weapon. Johnson's scoring mentality often worked against a team that needed to feed the ball inside to A.J. Hammons as much as possible. Johnson will force shots his middling efficiency does not justify.

Johnson shot 30.4 percent on 3s this season and 66.7 percent on free throws. With that dragging him down, Johnson was just eighth among Purdue regulars in true shooting percentage.

Combined with a high turnover ratio, only potential and a lack of alternatives justified Johnson's continued presence in the starting lineup.

Johnson's foot speed and ability to attack the paint could allow him to grow and be more helpful at his next school.

Yet after the Boilermakers' season came to an end, coach Matt Painter sounded frustrated that Johnson was still so turnover-prone.

“He has the ability with his speed to break people down and to put us in situations that others can't,” Painter said. “But he has to be able to take care of the basketball as your point guard.”

Focusing on what Johnson could become, he was a significant loss. Focusing on what he was, and his perhaps questionable attitude, Johnson is not.