Evan Turner, Southside Chicago born and bred, the most written about individual in the history of The Sports Bank, and the individual athlete I’ve written about more than any other, became the sixth Ohio State player under the direction of Thad Matta, head coach of the Buckeyes, to be selected in the opening round of the annual National Basketball Association Draft in the last four seasons when the Philadelphia 76ers selected Turner with the second pick Thursday.
Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook, all freshmen from Ohio State’s 2007 NCAA runner-up squad, were taken in the opening round of the 2007 NBA Draft. Freshmen centers Kosta Koufos (2008) and B.J. Mullens (2009) also were first round selections.
By Paul M. Banks
Portland, with the first overall pick in 2007, selected Oden. He was the first Buckeye selected with the opening pick. Conley went to the Memphis Grizzlies with the No. 4 pick and Cook was selected by Philadelphia with the 21st pick of the opening round. Koufos was taken by the Utah Jazz with the 23rd pick in the first round in 2008 while Mullens went originally to the Dallas Mavericks with the 24th pick in 2009. He was then traded to the Oklahoma Thunder on draft night.
Since 1947, 47 Ohio State basketball players have been drafted by NBA teams, including 22 first round selections.
Turner joins Mullens, Koufos, Oden, Conley, Cook and Michael Redd, now in his 11th year with the Milwaukee Bucks, as former Buckeyes currently active in the NBA. Redd earned a gold medal for the United States on the men’s senior national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also was elected to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame and was inducted last fall.
Contributing to an NBA team has long been a goal for Turner.
“Tonight marks another dream coming true,” Turner said. “As a kid growing up, I always dreamt of eventually playing basketball in the NBA and it feels amazing to know that I have finally accomplished that. I am excited to play in Philly and enjoy everything that the city has to offer … especially the cheesesteaks. Right now, I just cannot wait to lace up, get on the court and start playing what I hope will be a long and successful career.”
Turner swept the 2010 college basketball season player of the year awards after claiming the Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Award, as well as the Sporting News, USBWA, Associated Press and NABC POY awards. The junior guard also was the Big Ten Player of the Year and the Most Outstanding Player at the annual Big Ten tournament, which the Buckeyes captured with a win over Minnesota.
He was named both the 2010 Ohio State Male Athlete of the Year as well as the Jesse Owens Big Ten Male Athlete of the Year following the season. The most recent award was announced Wednesday.
Turner averaged 20.4 points and 9.4 rebounds in 2010 as his Buckeye team reached the Sweet 16 of the 2010 NCAA Tournament and won the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles. A 6-7 junior from Chicago, he was the conference’s top scorer and rebounder and ranked No. 2 in assists (6.0, 6th in the nation) and steals (1.7).
Matta said Turner deserves this night after the effort and dedication he contributed to the Ohio State program over the last three years.
“I could not be happier for Evan and his family,” Matta said. “He came to Ohio State with a dream and he was able to achieve it through hard work and dedication. He had the opportunity to enter the draft a year ago but showed maturity by returning to school. He had not accomplished what he wanted as a Buckeye and he knew he had to become a better player. He is the model for all young athletes who aspire to play professionally by doing things the right way on and off the court. I know that he is excited to begin this new journey.”
Ohio State’s NBA First Round Draft History
|Year||Player||Yrs at OSU||Team||Round (Pick)|
|1947||Jack Underman||1946-47||St. Louis||1 (7)|
|Paul Huston||1945-47||Chicago||1 (8)|
|1950||Dick Schnittker||1948-50||Washington Capitols||1 (5)|
|1961||Larry Siegfried||1959-61||Boston Celtics||1 (3)|
|1962||Jerry Lucas||1960-62||Cincinnati Royals||1 (6)|
|John Havlicek||1960-62||Boston Celtics||1 (9)|
|1964||Gary Bradds||1962-64||Baltimore Bullets||1 (3)|
|1968||Bill Hosket||1966-68||New York Knicks||1 (10)|
|1971||Jim Cleamons||1969-71||Los Angeles||1 (13)|
|1980||Kelvin Ransey||1977-80||Chicago Bulls||1 (4)|
|1981||Herb Williams||1978-81||Indiana Pacers||1 (14)|
|1982||Clark Kellogg||1980-82||Indiana Pacers||1 (8)|
|1984||Tony Campbell||1981-84||Detroit Pistons||1 (20)|
|1986||Brad Sellers||1985-86||Chicago Bulls||1 (9)|
|1987||Dennis Hopson||1984-87||New Jersey Nets||1 (3)|
|1992||Jim Jackson||1990-92||Atlanta Hawks||1 (4)|
||2007||Portland Trailblazers||1 (1)|
|Mike Conley Jr.
||2007||Memphis Grizzlies||1 (4)|
||2007||Philadelphia 76ers||1 (21)|
||2008||Utah Jazz||1 (23)|
||2009||Dallas Mavericks||1 (24)|
|2010||Evan Turner||2008-10||Philadelphia 76ers||1 (2)|