A winner, a leader and a great addition.
That is how Purdue coach Matt Painter described Ronnie Johnson when he signed with the school.
After two seasons, the point guard fell short of those expectations, and the Boilermakers announced Saturday that they had granted Johnson a release. He intends to transfer.
“Boiler Nation will always be a part of me,” Johnson wrote on his Twitter account. “Thank you to everyone who supports me! Good luck to my boys in the future.”
Johnson's brother Terone completed his senior year with Purdue's season-ending loss to Ohio State Thursday in the Big Ten tournament.
Painter criticized Johnson's decision-making after that game, saying that “he has to be able to take care of the basketball as your point guard.”
Johnson, a 6-foot Indianapolis native, averaged 10.8 points and 3.7 assists as a sophomore. But turnovers were an issue. Johnson was charged with 160 at Purdue. He played in all 66 games the past two seasons, starting 59.
The Boilermakers went 31-35 over that stretch.
Coaches and players questioned the team's overall effort at times, and Painter complained of selfish play. While he never cited individual players, it is possible Johnson was one of the guilty parties.
There has been no indication where Johnson might transfer. Out of high school he chose Purdue over Illinois and Butler.
“We wish Ronnie the best of luck as he continues to pursue his education and basketball career,” Painter said in a release issued by the team.
Johnson, who played at North Central High School, was part of the much-anticipated 2012 recruiting class that isn't looking so good these days. Center A.J. Hammons has underachieved, an enlarged heart ended Jay Simpson's career, and Purdue has received little on-court production from Rapheal Davis, though he is a team captain.
Painter considers Davis, a former South Side standout, the standard as far as work ethic, attitude and character.
“He wants to do right,” Painter said. “He puts in a lot of time. He wants to see us win. You can't have enough of that. He cares. We have to do a better job in recruiting and get guys with a makeup like Rapheal.”
Minus Johnson, Purdue has five scholarship players set to return and five incoming recruits.
Bryson Scott, a rising sophomore and Northrop graduate, was Johnson's backup.