Former Gopher hoops standout Ron Johnson passes away


Minnesota has lost a basketball legend as former Gophers star Ron Johnson has died.

According to the Star Tribune, the New Prague native died unexpectedly of an aneurysm on Sunday night.

On the floor, the 6-foot-7 standout was known for his ability to score the basketball. He became the first Minnesota high school boys' basketball player to score 2,000 career points and led New Prague to the state tournament in back-to-back seasons in 1955 and 56, while he was a junior and senior.

Johnson put up 94 points in three games during the 1955 state tournament, then provided quite the encore the following year. He set a then-state tournament record by scoring 109 points in New Prague's three games at Williams Arena – a record that stood until 1979 when it was broken by another Minnesota basketball legend, Randy Breuer of Lake City.

Johnson finished his high school career at New Prague with 2,190 points.

He then moved on to the University of Minnesota and scored 1,335 points in a Gophers uniform between 1957-60.

Following his time at Minnesota, Johnson was drafted by the Detroit Pistons. He also played for the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA.

Johnson was living in St. Cloud at the time of his death on Sunday, he was 76.

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