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May 14, 2012

Ralston Turner finds new home at NC State



LSU transfer Ralston Turner knew he wanted to come to NC State when he was able to sit down this past weekend with coach Mark Gottfried and talk basketball.

Turner made it official Monday by announcing he'll be transferring to NC State. The 6-foot-6, 205-pound wing from Muscle Shoals, Ala., will have two years of eligibility remaining and looks forward to improving his basketball skills while sitting out this upcoming season.

"I just felt comfortable with their staff," said Turner, who officially visited NC State with his mother this past weekend. "I had a relationship with Coach Gottfried coming out of high school. I felt pretty comfortable with everything, and decided to give them the nod.

"I was convinced after I sat down with Coach Gottfried and talked about basketball. That was pretty much the factor for me. The coaches are just good people and I had a good feeling around me."

Gottfried showed Turner how he'd perform in his UCLA offense.

"I know what type of offense he ran and what his plans are for me and how he'll use me," Turner said. "I just want to come and help. I felt that was important to me, and that I want to win."

Turner was originally recruited by Coach Gottfried when he was starting his prep career at Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High. Turner eventually picked LSU over Georgia, Butler, Notre Dame and others Sept. 14, 2009.

Rivals.com ranked the 6-foot-6, 205-pounder the No. 142 overall player in the class of 2010. He was known coming out of high school as a shooter, and that remains a few years later.

"I'm a shooter and that's the best thing that I do," Turner said. "What I need to work on is making plays off the bounce. I need to make plays and finish at the rim. The year off will give me a chance to cover some ground in the classroom."

Turner proved to be a quick study at LSU and started his first two seasons with the Tigers. He averaged 12.3 points per game and shot 32.2 percent from three-point land his freshman year. Turner averaged 9.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game his sophomore year, but his three-point accuracy increased to 37.2 percent under coach Trent Johnson.

Turner lit up Marquette for 22 points on 4 of 5 three-point shooting in a 67-59 win Dec. 19, 2011, this past season. Playing ranked teams such as Kentucky, Florida or Vanderbilt, this past season, especially on the road, will help his transition to the ACC.

"I know what it is like to play somebody tough," Turner said. "I know what it's like to play hard. Coming out of high school, you don't understand until you go through it. I've been through it. I'll know what to expect.

"The win over Marquette or when we came back and beat Mississippi State in overtime this past year [were the highlights]. We had a lot of fun."

Johnson left LSU for Texas Christian this offseason, and the Tigers hired former assistant Johnny Jones. The coaching change led to Turner looking around and NC State proved to be his one and only official visit. Saying good-bye to his friends and teammates at LSU wasn't easy for Turner.

"It was really tough and it's something that isn't easy at all," Turner said. "I will continue to look forward."

Turner will be a junior for NC State for the 2013-2014 season, and will be one of the older players on the squad. His experience and leadership could prove invaluable in helping the Wolfpack's 2012 and 2013 recruiting classes.

"I'm not really a vocal guy, but I'll lead with my actions," said Turner, who majored in sports management at LSU. "We'll have some good players and a good support system around them."


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