November 4, 2009

Turner's first attempt at PG a success

COLUMBUS - When analyzing Ohio State head basketball coach Thad Matta's decision to move his best player, Evan Turner, to point guard over the offseason, the questions weren't regarding whether or not Turner would be able to handle it.

The real concerns rested with the fact that it was possible that Turner may not be able to be as pure of a scorer as he was last season given his new responsibilities as the Buckeyes' point guard.

Turned out any concerns about Turner's game can get thrown in the trash.

Well, at least for one night.

In Ohio State's only exhibition game on Wednesday night against Walsh University - naturally an 86-48 blowout - Turner not only got back to his scoring habits of last season but he put together an-all around game that had Matta smiling in the postgame interview room.

Turner scored a team-high 15 points, but also grabbed 14 rebounds in addition to six assists. Those who were weary about the move to point guard were eased at Value City Arena Wednesday night.

"I thought that Evan played a tremendous game all around," Matta said. "I think one of the biggest differences for him is he's playing with more patience and seeing things and really looking to get guys involved, which was exciting to see. He realizes the more he gives, the more it's going to come back to him because they were locking on guys."

One of the first questions asked by the media to Turner was whether or not he felt he would get a triple double this season, something that is rarely done in college basketball.

While Turner proceeded to give his answer while giggling at the fact the question was even asked, his teammate Jon Diebler - sitting directly to Turner's right - was shaking his head up and down, showing that confidence in his teammate's ability.

After all, Turner almost made it to the mark in the team's first game.

"I think he will. The guy had 14 rebounds playing from the point guard spot," Diebler said. "He has a knack for the ball and I think he is so aggressive on offense that not only does he get the tough shots, but he gets (easy) shots. I think if we are knocking shots down, obviously that is going to get his assists up… I think he can do it."

Perhaps the most criticized portion of Turner's game last season was his issues with taking care of the ball and turning it over in clutch situations.

Those turnovers were scrutinized, but Turner said that those may come at times this season because he is just trying to make plays, something Matta also understands comes with the territory when dealing with an aggressive scorer like Turner.

Turner was well aware, however, of how some of those turnovers cost his team last season. Against Walsh, Turner not only put together a fantastic all-around statistical night, but he also practically cut out turning the ball over.

The best stat of the night, as Turner would tell you, is his six-assist to only one turnover ratio.

"In the past I had the hardest time taking care of the ball," Turner said. "Tonight I had a pretty good time taking care of the ball and my teammates made some shots, of course… I am just going to take it one step at a time. I cant really get too excited, I know myself."

There's no denying the sample of Turner's work came against an inferior opponent, but for the first attempt at being the team's pure point guard it was mission accomplished for Turner.

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for He can be reached at

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