Turners shoot to compliment each other entering inaugural SEC season
Published: Friday, November 9, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 03:11
Walking into the Cox-McFerrin practice facility, everyone is hard at work, preparing for the upcoming season. Deep in the paint, senior forward Ray Turner is focused, with his eyes straight on the goal working on free throws while fellow comrade and senior guard Elston Turner has that certain spring to his step after receiving fresh tape on his ankles.
While the Turners are not related, together on the basketball court they both share an undying love for the game and are always trying to stay a step ahead of the competition by spending time working on fundamentals and improving
“Both players have played quality minutes,” head coach Billy Kennedy said. “We are relying on both Elston and Ray to be good leaders for us.”
Elston and Ray Turner have the experience that the young Aggie basketball team will be relying on throughout the season. While both Turners are ready to take on leadership roles, it’s the journey of how they got here that shows the character of the players.
Ray, who hails from Houston, Texas, had a different approach to basketball. His journey began not too long ago when he began playing in ninth grade. Ray had a growth spurt and joined an AAU team. He joined his school’s team
“It was in the ninth grade when I hit my growth spurt,” Ray said. “Before then though I was under six feet tall, but then I entered the ninth grade and the height came in.”
A common misconception about basketball is height equals skill. However, Ray encountered struggles because he was so new to the game.
“I was fresh to the game,” Ray said. “I was still developing my skill but I was and still am a high energy guy.”
When times get tough, Ray goes unfazed because of his strong upbringing in family values and resiliency, which he attributes to experienced gained as a former boxer. Throughout high school, Ray was an avid follower of the Aggies because of the strong family feel around campus.
“I was raised under strong family values and that’s why I chose to come here at A&M,” Ray said.
While Ray has gone from raw talent to key contributor for the Aggies, Elston had basketball in his DNA from the beginning.
“I was born with basketball,” Elston said. “My father, my mother and my sister all played basketball.”
Playing since he was able to walk Elston was learning the game from his family, always trying to be like his father, Elston Sr., who played in the NBA alongside Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen and is currently assistant coach and defensive coordinator for the Phoenix Suns.
With influences like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen side by side with his dad, it’s safe to say Elston had great mentors to help him develop his skill set.
When Elston first began playing in middle school, his height led him to play the center or forward position. As he began to ascend up the levels of basketball, Elston has gone from a post player to being a gifted perimeter player.
“He’s done a really good job at being a leader and helping the young guys out on the perimeter,” Kennedy said. “He’s our best perimeter defender.”
As the season kicks off Friday against Louisiana Tech, the youth of the team will be looking up to the leadership of their two primary seniors. Ray and Elston Turner have worked hard to get the season underway, especially when their final seasons are the grand entrance in the basketball rich SEC conference and their head coach shares their sentiment.
“It’s a great time of year again,” Kennedy said. “We’re excited about Louisiana Tech coming in on Friday. That’ll be a good test for us early.”