July 15, 2009

Turner: A true team player

Mississippi State's Phil Turner proved last season that he was the ultimate team player.

The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder is a shooting guard by trade but sacrificed his body to start at power forward giving up usually six inches and sometimes 80-pounds to his opponent.

Despite the size disadvantage, Turner averaged 10.3 points and 6.3 rebounds during conference play.

With the emergence of Kodi Augustus late last season and the signing of Renardo Sidney and Wendell Lewis, Turner should be able to move back to his natural position but will be ready to play anywhere when his name is called.

"They are going to use me wherever," Turner said. "I'm really not choosy or picky because I want to be out there playing. I'll play the one, two, three or four and feel like I can compete and make the team better at any of those spots. I'll play wherever I need to be to help the team."

Turner helped lead the Bulldogs to a 23-13 record, a Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship and a birth in the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09. But the Grenada, Miss., native is not about to rest on the laurels of the past.

"We can't fall back," Turner said. "We are going to keep building off of that. Coach (Richard) Akins has come in the last couple of years and built the weight program back up and the conditioning. It's taken a couple of years but I think we are back on the right track to becoming a winning program like we have in years before."

Turner has spent most of the summer in Tennessee working out with his uncle. He has added 10 pounds to his frame bulking up from 170 to 180-pounds. He arrived back in Starkville at the beginning of July and his undergoing workouts with the rest of his teammates.

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