We can put the "Book it" and Ronnie's departure now. But just out of curiosity and just wanting to put a closure to it, when was the decision really made? Was it, like ZoKnowsDefense or BoilerDawd say, for weeks Papa Johnson has been putting out feeler to potential schools about Ronnie's availability in the spring? Or, did it just come down to the last few days b/c as of Thursday, Ronnie still sounded like he would be back. According to News-Sentinel,
"This was very frustrating," sophomore guard Ronnie Johnson said. "We have to do a better job next year of staying in the top 4 (of the conference). We can play with any team. We just have to show it."
There's buzz that some Boilers will transfer, which has happened to Painter over the years. Speculation centers on Johnson, but he said after Thursday's loss he was staying. He also said he couldn't wait to start preparing for next season.
"I'm ready to get back in the gym right now. I'm ready for next year. I'm hungry. I know what we can do."
And then he assumed a leader's stance
"People have to be hungry next year. I've got to hold people to a higher expectation. Hold them accountable."
I want to know just so that I can put a closure to it. Did Ronnie say that just for the reporters but deep down he knew he is a goner, or was he genuinely thinking about leading the team next year?I'd hope that it is the latter so that I can give him a genuine blessing wherever he goes. I just can't give any respect to any player not putting 100% into the team when he is still wearing their uniform.
Anyhow, I see a huge difference in attitude between RayD and Ronnie. When asked about whether or not to play the CBI, Ronnie said, "I wouldn't want to play in that. We showed who we can play with. If we were in that, win or lose, we're not proving anything." On the contrary, RayD said, "I want to play more games. With a competitive spirit and being a basketball player, you always want to play more games, but it's (coach Matt Painter's) decision."
To me, Ronnie's answer seems to suggest that he is either fed up with wearing Gold & Black and didn't wanna play anymore, or that he just doesn't have that winner's attitude. Like RayD says, if you are competitive and being a basketball player, you ALWAYS wanna play more games. It's not even a question. Especially after such an underwhelming season, you want a chance to prove that you are better than a 12th place finish. I disagree with Ronnie's view that we don't have anything to prove. We haven't proved ANYTHING this year. All we've proved is that at times we didn't get blown out, but we are just as unproven now as we were in November. We haven't even proved that we can beat anyone, not even Northwestern at home, in our last 7 games. His answer seems to suggest an entitled attitude that "We are too good for it" when the cold, hard record says otherwise. He seems to never learn that from last year when we thought we were too good for CBI, when the fact was we couldn't even beat Santa Clara at home.
Anyhow, I do agree with Matt Painter's emphatic "no" that we shouldn't participate in the CBI this year, given Ronnie's departure and all the various injuries from Carter to Simpson to Basil. The team needs a break to regroup. Unfortunately, the Ronnie era comes to an end and the lasting image of him is his fumbled hand-off pass to Terone. Oh well, let's move on.