Constructive criticism isn't always easy to absorb, especially for a teenager listening to his father. But in the case of Roseville High (Calif.) star Elston Turner, he has to consider the source. His father, Elston Turner Sr., played for eight years in the National Basketball Association, including one-plus seasons with Michael Jordan in Chicago.
He also played in Europe for three years and coached with the Portland Trail Blazers and Sacramento Kings. So father knows best, when it comes to the younger Turner's career.
"We do drills together and we watch my games on tape," said Jr., a rising senior. "He tells me what I'm doing wrong. I enjoy watching the games with him. It makes me better."
The tutelage is paying off. Turner, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, averaged 22.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, four assists and 3.5 blocks per game last season for the 12-15 Tigers. In a loss to Woodcreek, Turner scored 34 points, had 14 rebounds and
He has already committed to the University of Washington.
The Roseville star admires the Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce for his ability to score. Turner likes to imagine himself as that type of player. But dad isn't done molding, including tuning up the other aspects of his son's game.
When the elder Turner coached with the Kings, his duties were to develop players' individual skills, review offensive and defensive game plans of opponents and provide advance scouting. Some of that applies nicely to his work with his son.
"I don't break down tape like I did with the Kings," the former coach said. "But we watch the tape and I emphasize a few things, with lots of starts and stops and rewinds."
Asked how his son responded to such praise and critique, the elder Turner said: "It depends on how the game went. If it was a good game, then he might be enthused. If it was bad, then it could be painful. It's the same with the pro guys. Nobody wants to get beat up too bad."
The Roseville star realizes his dad is knowledgeable. The former University of Mississippi star was a defensive whiz who guarded Jordan in practice every day during his stint with the Bulls in 1986-87 and '87-88. Jordan is known to be highly competitive, whether he's playing in the
seventh game of the NBA championship series, practicing or playing ping
"He was a big-time player," the elder Turner said. "He was a talent. I was a defensive player and I played the same position as he did and we were the same size. We went against each other every day in practice. You could have charged
admission for some of those practice sessions. I think we made each other
Now the former pro serves as a sparring partner for his son, even lacing up the basketball shoes and playing one-on-one with him occasionally. The elder Turner hedged when asked if his son can beat him yet.
"I have a few miles on me," he said with a laugh. "Normally we play with a different set of rules, too. I'm a little more physical. When I played, we'd put a forearm on you and knock you around a little bit. But we play once in a while and we have a good time."
The Tennessee native said that, as a coach, he wants his son to improve all aspects of his game, especially his intensity and defensive positioning. The younger Turner isn't satisfied either.
"I need to take it to the next step," he said. "I want to improve my stats, become more physical and be the best player I can be."