Washington guard Elston Turner will transfer | Husky basketball
Sophomore guard Elston Turner will leave the Washington basketball program, looking to transfer to a school where he will find a role beyond three-point specialist.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Latest from the Husky Football & Basketball blogs
For the past two years, Elston Turner had been Washington's three-point specialist, although it wasn't the role he coveted.
The sophomore sharpshooter believed he could offer more than the occasional trey, but said after the season, "I had to do that because we had other guys in other roles."
Three weeks ago, after the Huskies' season ended in defeat in the Sweet 16, Turner talked about assuming more responsibilities next season and taking over the starting position vacated by senior Quincy Pondexter.
On Tuesday, however, Turner notified coach Lorenzo Romar he intends to transfer and Washington made the announcement official Thursday morning.
"It was a hard decision," Turner said in a statement released by the school. "Coach Romar is like a father to me and I know he is going to support me 100 percent. I appreciate him and my teammates over the last couple years, but I am doing what I feel is best for me."
Turner, a sophomore, averaged 4.6 points and 2 rebounds in two seasons. Last season, he averaged 5.5 points and 1.9 rebounds in 36 games.
He started three games, but lost his job in December and split playing time off the bench for most of the season with sophomore Scott Suggs, another three-point specialist.
Turner averaged 15.3 minutes, but his playing time fluctuated largely because he was wildly inconsistent.
His performance against Texas Tech in a 73-64 defeat may have been a barometer for his season.
Turner scored 15 points in his first college start, but missed a pair of free throws in the final seconds in regulation that would likely have won the game.
"I didn't linger too long on that game," he said. "I put it behind me fairly quickly."
Still, it would be three months before Turner played a relevant role for the Huskies.
He broke out of a scoring slump in the NCAA tournament. Before the first-round game, he had scored in double figures just once in the previous 13 games.
Against Marquette, Turner tallied 14 points, including four three-pointers, which helped the Huskies to an 80-78 victory.
He also scored 10 points, including two three-pointers, in a second-round win over New Mexico that sent Washington to the Sweet 16.
"There are times when kids leave with hard feelings and (say) 'I've got to get out of there and they didn't treat me right,' " Romar said. "I don't think that's the case with Elston. I just think it was, 'I want to look for another opportunity where I'll have more of a chance to blossom.' "
Turner shot a team-best 38 percent from three-point range, and made 41 three-pointers, second-most on the team. Turner shot just 54.5 percent on free throws.
His departure opens a spot in the rotation that might be filled by Suggs and C.J. Wilcox, who redshirted his freshman year and is believed to be UW's best perimeter shooter.
Washington also gains a scholarship for the class of 2010-11 and the Huskies are listed among the favorites by Portland recruits Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross.
Jones, a McDonald's All-American forward, will make a decision no later than April 30 and Ross, a five-star shooting guard, is expected to visit UW this month.
Turner, a graduate of Elkins High School in Missouri City, Texas, told KJR-AM radio he'd like to transfer closer to his home in Houston and mentioned Texas A&M and Texas as possible destinations.
"I'm not going to put just staying close to home as my top priority because I do want to go where it's best for me and not just because it's close," Turner said in the radio interview. "We'll have to see and weigh it out and hopefully me and my family can come up with the best decision."
In two seasons, Turner played 66 games and he made 66 three-pointers. His somewhat unorthodox and deliberate shot had become his trademark, but he's eager to prove he's more than a spot-up shooter.
"Somewhere else I feel like can be the type of player that can be a versatile scorer," Turner told KJR-AM. "I want to go and to be the best I can be. I had to move on."
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
When vice president of Sub Pop Records Megan Jasper isn't running things at the office, she's working in her garden at her West Seattle home where she and her husband Brian spend time relaxing.