Elston Turner Jr is a 28 year old 195cm guard from Roseville, California playing his sixth professional season and first with the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL). Last season he played with Soundreef Mens Sana 1871 Siena (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 47.4%, 3FGP: 28.2%, FT: 73.9%, in Jan.’18 moved to Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games: Score-1 (21.9ppg), 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 93.0%. He also gained experience playing two seasons with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A), with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A), ES Chalon-Sur-Saone (France-ProA) and Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Italy-SerieA). He began his basketball career at Roseville High School and also played at Fort Bend Elkins High School. He played 66 NCAA games with Washington (NCAA) from 2008-2010 reaching a NCAA Sweet 16 and winning the Pac 10 tournament. He finished his NCAA career with Texas A&M (NCAA) playing 63 NCAA games and as a senior played 32 games averging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 84.8%. He spoke to germanhoops.com about his basketball career.
Elston thanks for talking to germanhoops.com Your in your sixth professional season and played most of it in Italy. How did you experience the holiday season in Germany? Was it a lot different than in Italy?
Yes it was a lot different than Italy. I have played Italy for so long it kind of feels like home. So when the holidays came it felt normal. This is my first year in Germany so it felt a little different but I still enjoyed it.
Your playing your first season in Germany in the easyCredit BBL. Many say Germany is one of the top leagues in Europe. Ten years ago, Italy was surely above the BBL, but the German league has made strides. After playing the last years in Italy how would you compare the skill and overall level between both leagues?
Both leagues are very competitive. I would say Italy has more skill and talent. But Germany has more size and is a lot more physical.
It has been a tough season for the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. Despite the results now, I had this team as a possible playoff team just on the talent on paper. Why hasn’t the season gone how many thought it would?
We are a very talented team on paper. But basketball is more than that, we have to play smart and be as aggressive as teams are with us.
Despite the current standings position the positions 13-17 are very tight. You have the season in your own hands. The club lost many tight games and played top teams Bamberg and Alba Berlin very tough. How strong is the teams mentality and confidence level at the moment?
We know we are a good team when we want to be. We feel like we can beat anyone on any night. But it takes hard work and discipline for 40 minutes.
How confident are you that you will get out of the bottom and start winning games? Can these team be a consistent defensive team?
I’m very confident in this team. I feel like we can turn it around very quickly. We have shown that we can defend at times, we just need to defend for 40 minutes.
Let’s talk about your teammates. There is a lot of NBA flair with ex NBA players Jackson and Benson and your dad played in the NBA. What has been like playing with these two players and what have you appreciated the most about their existence?
They both are good players and help us in their own way. Keith is really good at finishing around the basket. Darnell brings the toughness that we need. Both are very important to us.
Chris Warren has done all he can putting up stats and leading the team as well as he can. How important has he been for the team despite the losing woes?
Chris has been very important for us. He makes a lot of great plays on offense and defense as well as hitting big shots when we need them.
It seems like rookie Jordan Brangers was labelled as the scape goat and was released on account of not defending the way the club wanted to. Was a guy like that capable to work on his defense and get better? It seemed like the club gave up on him?
Jordan is a good player and a even better person. Basketball is a tough business and teams try to do what’s best for them to succeed.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 195cm guard that can do a little bit of everything. For those that haven’t seen you play to what NBA player would you describe your game best to?
Growing up I tried to model my game after Paul Pierce. He was very good at scoring the ball with mid range jumpers and creating space using his body.
You have been a scorer his whole life since Texas A&M. How do you feel has your scoring and leadership skills grown as a professional?
Yes I feel that its helped me a lot in terms of being a smarter basketball player.
Your turning 29 years old in a few months. Do you feel like you are in your prime? On what things do continue to work on most on your game? Possibly creating for others to be that extra type of playmaker when a team needs that?
Yes this is the best I have ever felt in my career so far. I still work on a lot of things in my game as well as work on things I feel I am really good at.
You’re a guy that can fill up the stat sheet with ease. What is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t get noticed right away on the court?
I feel like I am a underrated playmaker. I am a good passer and love making plays for my teammates.
You played the last five years mostly in Italy. Was it tough leaving the good food and culture for the rainy days in Bremerhaven? What did you appreciate most about the country and it’s basketball?
Italy is my second home, I have a lot of friends there so yes it was tough but I was excited for the opportunity to come to Bremerhaven.
Last season you split time with Soundreef Mens Sana 1871 Siena (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games averaging 15.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.7apg, 2FGP: 47.4%, 3FGP: 28.2%, FT: 73.9%, in Jan.’18 moved to Generazione Vincente Cuore Napoli (Italy-Serie A2) playing 16 games: Score-1 (21.9ppg), 4.1rpg, 2.6apg, FGP: 51.1%, 3PT: 32.5%, FT: 93.0%. With Naples you led the league in scoring and shot the best % from the free throw line. Was the last 4 months with Naples your best season in terms of individual play?
I don’t feel like that was the best I played. I think I played better a couple of years before that. But I still had a great last 4 months of last year.
You played two seasons with Vanoli Cremona (Italy-Serie A) putting up solid stats and averaging in double figures in scoring. You played with really good guards there like Tu Holloway and Gabe York as well as Markell Starks and Tyrus Mcghee. How important were these two years there for your development as a player?
It always helps when you have other good guards along your side. It makes the game easier.
In your second professional season you played with Enel Basket Brindisi (Italy-Serie A). Here you probably had the most experience along your side with guys like Cedric Simmons, Delroy James, Demonte Harper and James Mays. Was there a guy here that had a real big effect on you that helped make your stay easier?
In Brindisi we were all like family. We were always hanging out 24/7. Which you could see when we played in games. We were the true definition of a team.
As a rookie you played with Victoria Libertas Pesaro (Italy-SerieA) playing 30 games averaging 16.8ppg, 2.4rpg, 2.1apg, FGP: 46.7%, 3PT: 31.9%, FT: 68.4%. What was your wake up call to being a rookie in Europe where you knew that you were very far away from home?
I knew that I was far away from home as soon as I landed because the time difference killed me.
In the summer of 2013 you played NBA Pro Summer League in Las Vegas with the New Orleans Pelicans playing 3 games averaging 2.0pp. How was that experience for you? What will you never forget from breathing NBA air for a few weeks.
The summer league was a great experience coming out of college. The transition was easier for me because I ‘ve been around NBA basketball my whole life.
Was pursuing the NBA for you never more of an option? Your dad played in the NBA for 9 years. Did connections or possibly the right opportunity not surface in the last years?
Growing up the NBA was always an option. That’s all basketball players dream of as kids. The NBA is very tough to get in, especially trying to go undrafted.
How important has your dad been for your basketball development since a little kid. What do you believe is the most important thing that he has given you that has helped you become the player you are today?
I think the best thing my dad taught me is how to play the game the right way. I have a high basketball IQ and see the game differently than others which gives me an advantage a lot of the times
You began your NCAA career at Washington (NCAA) playing 66 games over a two year span. How was that experience for you? You played with many great future NBA players like Isaiah Thomas, Quincy Pondexter, Justin Holiday and CJ Wilcox. Was it tough finding a role with so much talent?
At Washington we had a lot of great players on our team. It was tough to find a role because every game we did not know if we would play or not.
How much of an effect did a guy like Quincy Pondexter have on you on a daily basis? Did the daily battles prepare you better for Texas A&M?
Quincy is a great player. I remember losing games and immediately after the game he would go get shots up. Watching him get better helped me understand a little more on how to be a great player
You finished at Texas A&M (NCAA) and had a very solid junior year and excellent senior year averaging 17.5ppg, 3.0rpg, 2.3apg, FGP: 47.7%, 3PT: 36.1%, FT: 84.8%. Do you ever wonder how your career may have gone had you stayed at Washington?
Sure I wonder all of the time how my career would have been if I had stayed at Washington. But me going to Texas A&M was the best thing I did. It changed my life.
What were your fondest memories at Texas A& M. Was there a game that will always stand out in your mind?
I have a lot of memories at A&M. Of course 40 points against Kentucky. Also 37 against Ole Miss and 38 against Tennessee.
When you were a senior Alex Caruso was a freshman. How have you followed his basketball path. Would have ever thought then that he could become basketball material?
I watched Alex from when he was in high school so I knew that he could play. A lot of people do not realize how athletic he is until you see him jump. One of the smartest players I have ever played with.
How did head coach Bill Kennedy groom and prepare you best for a professional basketball career?
Coach Kennedy gave me the keys to the team which taught me how to lead.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Alex Caruso?
Me of course haha
Who is the toughest guy that you battled in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
If you had to pick your personal favorite starting five of teammates over the years which players would you chose?
Jacob Pullen, Marcus Denmon, Deron Washington, Delroy James, Tashawn Thomas
If you had to construct your very own NBA mount Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick?
MJ, Bron, Shaq, Magic
What is your personal opinion about the never ending debate of who is the greatest between Michael Jordan and Lebron James?
I do not think you can go wrong with either decision. Both are very different.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Elston for the chat.