Elston Turner Talks to Montlake Madness About Having a Coach at School, and a Coach at Home

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When you look at all of the scoring the Huskies will have to make up for this season when accounting for the losses of Jon Brockman and Justin Dentmon (approximately 37% of last season’s points), it’s going to take more than small increases from several returning players to bridge the gap. One guy Montlake Madness is looking to for a greatly increased role in the offense this season is Elston Turner. /

Turner had more ups and downs than the average freshman last year. He averaged 17 minutes per game as a key scoring option off the bench early on, before an ankle injury caused him to miss four games. When he returned, his scoring touch was there, but his minutes went way down. Then, in the NCAA Tournament, Elston Turner averaged 20 minutes per contest, showing off a more well-rounded game and raising expectations for this season.

I had a chance to speak with Turner recently. Here’s what we discussed:

Montlake Madness: What’s new? What part of your game have you been working on this off-season?

Elston Turner: You’re gonna see how much more I’m gonna be aggressive. Not just being a three-point shooter, but getting to the foul line, going to the basket, a lot of mid-range. You know, that’s 80-85% of the main things I’ve worked on this summer: being more aggressive and not just settling for the three-point jumper.

MM: How much do the increased minutes you saw very late last year in the NCAA Tournament bolster your confidence coming into this year?

ET: It helps a good deal. Going into the tournament, my dad was talking about how I have to be more aggressive, and if I have an open shot, don’t pass it up. And, if I feel like I can do something with the ball, then go ahead and do it. And, I started to do it in the Tournament and a lot of people could see it then.

MM: What’s it like having a coach at home (NBA coach, Elston Turner, Sr.) and a coach at school? Any discrepancy between the advice that they suggest to you?

ET: No, not really, because they talk all the time. They played in the NBA together. They both know what’s the best thing for me. When they both tell me one thing, it’s likely right. So, I haven’t had a problem with that yet.

MM: What’s the path from here to a professional career for you? What do you need to develop?

ET: Being more aggressive. Having more people notice me. Doing little things. Not just being an offensive player, but also playing defense and rebounding. Getting to the ball, stuff like that. Just so I can stay on the court and have more people notice me.

MM: What’s the battle like for rotation spots at practice? How do you work that out with being friends off the court? You and C.J. (Wilcox) particularly?

ET: You really don’t think about it as a player. Like you said, we’re real good friends. (C.J. and I) are roommates. We hang out a lot. And, I mean, really we’re just encouraging each other, so whoever gets the minutes, we’re not gonna be mad. We’re gonna be encouraging. I’m just trying to tell him a little bit about the offense. Because, I’ve been through it last year. I’m just trying to help him out and have him be the best player he can be.

MM: Would you rather start or finish?

ET: I’d rather finish.

Hey, thanks for coming.