Arizona's Turner Getting Back on Track

        Even with plenty of new faces in the lineup, Arizona was not expected to skip a beat coming off of an Elite 8 appearance a year ago. Much of that had to do with returning role players, but more so a top recruiting class featuring combo-guard Josiah Turner. He has the size, elite quickness and ball-handling of an NBA lottery pick, but struggled from the moment he stepped on campus.

        His quickness had been a tremendous weapon, but was now a glaring weakness in his game as he was just too quick for his own good. Turner played aggressive, over-penetrating into the lane, jacking up shots when he was out of position and forcing passes through small gaps that were deflected or stolen. The results were not pretty- 15 total points in his first three games on 4-of-13 shooting including 1-for-6 from 3-point range and eight turnovers. Not only was Turner removed from the starting lineup for his play, he was benched and did not see any action in the third game of the season as Coach Sean Miller sent a strong message to the freshman.

        Since then, Turner still shows signs of struggling with the speed of the game and forcing plays, but recently he has been better. In the past two games, he has recorded his third and fourth double-digit scoring performances of the season in conference play- 11 points in a loss to Oregon and 10 points in a win over Utah. He also recorded two steals and a block in each contest.

        Yet the questions still remain about Turner from scouts- while some refer to him as a scoring point guard, he appears to be more of a two-guard in a point guard's body. His decision-making is still a major question mark, resulting in turnovers and forced opportunities and his jump shot still needs work. But overall, Turner has shown more poise in his second go-round as a starter than during his rocky start. He is not the elite freshman point guard we had him pegged as, but Turner is showing glimpses of potential. He will without a doubt need at least one more year and a heck of a lot of improvement in the listed areas. If he shows he can run a team with his play-making and decision-making, then he can be considered as a late first-round pick, but until that point, he is no more than a disappointment with potential.

By President Corey Ruff - 1 - 20 - 12