Following the lead of Marcius, then Lawson, Sophomore, Anthony Johnson is now set to transfer elsewhere...following nearly a half season in which it was rumored he'd be leaving at the season's end.
Johnson was a four-star recruit, according to Rivals, out of high school, but was pretty slight...Many thought this was the reason for his redshirt during the first year on campus. In hindsight, I believe Painter wanted him to morph a bit from his high school mentality- a shooter first, passer and defender second...But with LewJack and Barlow in front of him, it made sense at the time. Now, that redshirt year will put him in a position in which he'll have only one more season of eligibility following sitting out next season due to transfer rules.
AJ's high water mark was against Nebraska in the '12 B1G tourney in which he scored 17 points...his low water marks might have been when he got into it with both Hummel in '12 and Byrd in '13 while on the court.
Those incidents specifically made fans question his attitude behind closed doors...and rumors about his attitude were also rampant. What we could see with our own eyes wasn't great though.
Johnson was a great shooter in high school, and showed flashes of that ability while wearing gold and black, but seemed to struggle when shooting over a defender. That said, he was pretty effective on the drive, a solid free throw shooter and a decent passer. The toughest thing for me to handle, as a fan, was his body language when things weren't going according to plan. I'm not sure what kind of teammate he was, but I know a few of his best friends are no longer on the team; who knows how that affected his outlook on the program.
So, three of the four guys who were rumored to be looking to leave are now gone from the program. I believe all of the post-season interviews or conversations with the head coach are completed...and I don't think it's a coincidence that Johnson was ready to head out after his wrap-up with Painter; but like much of what surrounds transfers, that's conjecture.
The good news is Purdue Purdue suddenly has a ton of space for transfers or walk-ons right away, the bad news is, after seven players, Purdue will need to lean heavily on players who haven't played any college basketball, if another player isn't added soon. Whenever a team loses a Junior who had had started a few games, even if it wasn't the majority of the time, the rotation feels it.
I've said it before- Purdue needs players that want to play for Purdue...the last few days they've lost some that didn't...and this season, it looked like much of the team held a similar attitude, sadly.
Here's the way the scholarship situation looks as of now:
Terone Johnson Sr.
Travis Carroll Sr.
Donnie Hale RS So.
AJ Hammons So.
Ronnie Johnson So.
Rapheal Davis So.
Jay Simpson RS Fr.
Kendal Stephens Fr.
Bryson Scott Fr.
Basil Smotherman Fr.
(three open scholarship slots)
If Purdue doesn't have a traditional transfer, JuCo transfer or screwy Senior rule transfer, Beshears or Toyra will more than likely be the beneficiaries of the recent tumult within the program.
Purdue has now lost five players that played minutes during the conference season in '12/'13.
We'll be able to tell in a few years if this rash of transfers was a good or a bad thing for the program. What we know for a fact was that what we saw on the court last year was unquestionably bad. Was it an issue that stemmed from bad attitudes, youth, lack of coaching control or a combination of all of these factors? We might not ever know the full truth.