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Texas A&M Student-Athlete Spotlight: Elston Turner
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By Timothy Durham
Big 12 Campus Correspondent

There are many student athletes who have the benefit of a family that has sports in their bloodline. For Junior Texas A&M men's basketball player Elston Turner, he gets it from his dad.

Turner's father, Elston Sr., is a former NBA player and current coach for the Phoenix Suns. During his sons' early school years, Elston Sr. coached in Sacramento, with the Kings, where Elston Jr. played most of his youth basketball.

Since he was a very young child, Elston's father has put him in basketball camps and coached him to be a well-rounded player. From being in camps run by his father to homemade drills his dad put him through, Elston worked hard to make basketball into a possible career.

"I've been playing pretty much ever since I can remember," Turner said. "Probably when I was three or four years old is when I first started. Ever since then, I've been working with him."

Being labeled by multiple coaches as a "coaches' kid," Elston Jr. regards his family ties to basketball as an advantage and a privilege.

"I think it's an advantage because I've been around the game so long," Turner said. "I've seen so many things, situations, everything someone could probably see in the game of basketball- I've seen it. Being around it makes it so much easier when I'm watching or even when I'm in the game."

During his junior year of high school, Elston Jr.'s father took a job as an assistant for the Houston Rockets' coaching staff and caused his son to transfer schools. Junior said that the move was tough on him initially, but after a while he settled into his new peer group.

"The transition wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be," Elston said. "At first, I hated it. But the people I was around made it so much easier."

When it was time for college ball, Turner found his way to Washington University- where he was molded into a specific role for his squad. But the role was not the exact fit Turner wanted from his college experience.

"I played point guard all through high school, but when I got up to Washington, my role was kind of limited to a straight spot-up shooter- so I couldn't do as much as I wanted to," Turner said. "Then we played A&M my sophomore year, and I was friends with B.J. Holmes and some of the other guys, and I made the decision to transfer."

The connection between the men's basketball programs of Washington and Texas A&M has been a positive one; one which culminated on a night when former Texas A&M guard Derrick Roland broke his leg during a contest between the Huskies and Aggies.

The Washington staff assisted Roland in finding a hospital after his injury and escorted the players and coaches there as well.

After making the decision to transfer, Elston's first eligible year of play was greeted with the changing of head coaches for A&M- from Mark Turgeon to Billy Kennedy.

Despite being in contact and coached by Turgeon, Turner said that the biggest difference between coaches was the only the style in which they brought.

"The transition wasn't as bad as everyone thought it was. It's different because of two different playing styles," Turner said. "Last year we played a lot slower, this year we're trying to run and put up points as well as being a great defensive team like we are."

But behind the bleachers and jump shots, basketball isn't the only skill that runs in the family for the Turners. Elston Jr. takes after his father musically as well- as his father taught him a few songs on the piano.

"In my spare time, I love music," Turner said. "I do a little bit of singing and rapping here and there. My dad taught me a few songs, so I got into it on the side."

In a life full of transitions- whether they are from city to city, baseline to baseline or university to university- Elston tries to look at the glass half full, always seeing the positive. His transition into becoming an Aggie has been no different.

"It's different, Washington didn't really have as many traditions like we have here," Turner said. "But now I live with Khris Middleton and Kourtney Roberson, so we're always hanging out and for the most part it's been one of the best experiences of my life. I'm excited to see what the future brings."

 

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