Ronnie and Terone Johnson Spotlight
Everyone knows the positives that can be formed in sports no matter what level it is. A sense of brotherhood and being able to go to war with someone knowing they have your back through the best of times is something unlike any other, but how much more special can it be knowing it’s your actual brother competing with you?
College basketball has brought many dynamic family duos to the court over the last couple of seasons including the Lopez twins (Brook and Robin) at Stanford, the Griffin brothers (Blake and Taylor), and most notably this season’s second duo of Plumlee brothers to be at Duke (Mason and Marshall this year with Miles graduating last year).
There’s one, however, brewing in West Lafayette, Indiana which looks to give a run for the Big Ten’s best backcourt for the next two years. Junior Terone Johnson and his younger brother freshman Ronnie Johnson look to provide a spark to a Purdue team that is at a mark of 7-8 on the young season, but these two are the last things coach Matt Painter should worry about.
Terone Johnson came out in the class of 2010 committed to Purdue since the start of his junior year. Ranked the 14th best point guard on Rivals.com, the Indianapolis native only had other offers from Cincinnati and Butler. Johnson came into Purdue with guys such as Travis Carroll, Donnie Hale, and Anthony Johnson, who have all been pivotal pieces to the Boilermakers this season and are expected to be next year.
Johnson is the kind of guy you want to see develop over his time playing at the college level. Since his freshman year, his points per game, minutes per game, rebounds, and assists have all increased every year. So for a Purdue starting lineup that has been in flux this season so far, Terone Johnson has been a key part of building stability.
Ever since the Notre Dame loss, there may be five that coach Matt Painter has settled on for the rest of the season. Terone Johnson started out the year as Purdue’s point guard.
Playing in eight games as the point guard before moving to a shooting guard role in the Notre Dame game, Johnson averaged 13 points per game, but a dismal 2.2 assists per game.
During the last five games, Johnson has averaged 16.8 points per game, including a career high 25 in a win over Illinois and his assists numbers have increased to 3.8 per game. I think there’s someone he needs to thank for those increased stats, but probably the last person he would ever want to admit it to, his younger brother, Ronnie.
Ronnie Johnson took the same route as his brother committing to Purdue at the end of his junior year. Also the number 14-ranked point guard in the country on Rivals.com, Ronnie had more prestige offers to Butler, Illinois, Indiana State, and Southern Illinois.
North Central (IN) high school has always been known for playing elite teams in the state of Indiana year in and year out, and that schedule paid off for Ronnie Johnson who went up against guys like Yogi Ferrell (Indiana) and Kellen Dunham (Butler) on a regular basis. The comparisons to former Purdue point guard Lewis Jackson were made right away before Johnson stepped on campus. A guy that was quick with the ball, a smart decision maker, but a suspect shooter.
The younger Johnson flirted with the starting rotation all year, but then the Notre Dame game came around and since then he has not looked back. Now the team’s leader in assists and fourth on the team in scoring 8.9 points per game, some have said he is in a better position that Terone was as a freshman. One thing is being made clear though, this won’t be a guy to move to the off guard position. He will be the floor manager for the next three years to come for Purdue.
Anyone that thinks having guys on a team that have been playing together since they could walk doesn’t matter is wrong. The brothers have tacked in just over 32% of Purdue’s scoring efforts this year and just under half of the assists for Purdue this year. The two have combined for 25.2 points per game and 8.2 assists per game since both being added to the starting lineup permanently in that Notre Dame game. For anyone that has watched Purdue since then, this is not the same team that once trailed Notre Dame by 23 in their contest.
A play-by-play announcer’s worst nightmare has to be guys with the same last name on the same team. Purdue happens to have three Johnson’s on the team (Anthony, Ronnie, and Terone). Anthony Johnson isn’t related to Ronnie and Terone, but by the end of the year, you might as well call them brothers.
One a junior, a sophomore and the other a freshman give it a family like atmosphere in West Lafayette. These two may not be the next Griffin or Lopez family powerhouse in college basketball, but they have a whole other group of brothers that will help make that happen.
Ryan Stevens is a freshman majoring in telecommunications. To contact him, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.