Former Roseville star Turner is ‘REAALLLL!!’ Johnny Football says so
If Elston Turner Jr. hadn’t officially arrived after scoring 40 points against Kentucky last weekend, his arrival absolutely was stamped when this tweet went out Saturday after Texas A&M went into famed Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky., and defeated the defending NCAA-champion Wildcats 83-71:
“Been trying to tell people for over a year now. … my boy @ElstonTurner31 is REAALLLL!!”
That tweet came from none other than Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s phenom quarterback, first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, Alabama beater, nighttime talk-show guest star and BMOC in College Station. Johnny Football.
Of course, basketball fans in the Roseville area saw Turner play like this from 2005-07, when he arrived at Roseville High School as a freshman prodigy and went on to average a collective 18.2 points, six rebounds, 2.7 assists and drain 150 three-pointers in three seasons.
But this …
Turner became the third player in the storied history of Rupp Arena to score 40 points in a game. The other two are David Robinson (45) of Navy in 1985 and Chris Jackson (41) of LSU in 1990, the year Turner was born. Robinson won multiple NBA championship rings with the San Antonio Spurs and is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Jackson changed his name to Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf and spent eight years in the NBA, including a stint with the Kings.
Most people in the Sacramento area were glued to TVs on Saturday watching the 49ers paste the Green Bay Packers 45-31 in an NFC divisional playoff game. Two time zones away, Turner was knocking down 14 of 19 shots from the floor, including 6 of 10 three-point attempts, in front of a crowd of 24,193. He was a perfect 6 for 6 at the free-throw line, grabbed six rebounds and shared the team high with four assists.
“You drop 40 on anybody, you have some skills for sure,” said Greg Granucci, who coached Turner at Roseville and still leads the Tigers today. “But to do it there, in that atmosphere, in a (Southeastern) conference game, that’s big.”
Granucci still hadn’t seen the game as of Tuesday. And no, he wasn’t watching the 49ers instead. Granucci spent Saturday at Mather watching his son play in a youth baseball tournament. Both receive alerts on their phones from Texas A&M. Little man had the scoop first.
“My son ran up to me and said Elston had 40,” said Granucci, who later sent Turner a text to tell him “how proud I am.”
This is Turner’s second year at Texas A&M. The 6-foot-5 senior played at the University of Washington for two years before transferring. He leads the Aggies in scoring at 17.1 points per game and minutes (33.7). He’s shooting 44 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free-throw line.
Turner grew up around basketball. His dad, Elston, played eight years in the NBA. The family landed in Roseville when Turner landed a job as an assistant coach under Rick Adelman with the Kings. After being fired, Adelman was hired to coach the Houston Rockets and made Turner an assistant. Today, Turner is an assistant with the Phoenix Suns.
Granucci noted that young Turner entered Rupp Arena last Saturday knowing how to handle the atmosphere.
“He’s always been with better players and bigger guys,” Granucci said. “Dad always made sure he had those types of experiences. He grew up around the NBA. When he gets that kind of attention, he knows how to handle it.”
Contact Bill Poindexter at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at BillP_RsvPT.