Hoops Notebook: Turner, Lauderdale And More

Wonder what sophomore swingman Evan Turner is saying about his plans for next season, or where he goes for inspiration? Want the latest on Dallas Lauderdale's injured shoulder, or what goals have been set by and for this year's Ohio State team? Read on for the answers to these questions and more.

There is plenty of time remaining between now and the NBA's early-entry deadline for the draft, but for now Ohio State's Evan Turner said he is set on staying put for another season as a Buckeye.

On March 6, the candidate for league player-of-the-year honors told reporters of his intentions to return for his junior season. Two days later after the Buckeyes finished off the regular season with a victory against Northwestern, the sophomore was asked again to comment on his future plans.

"I like college," he said. "I enjoy college. I like playing with my teammates. College basketball is a great game. I'm enjoying it right now. I haven't really thought about next year. I'm just thinking about the next tournament."

Turner went on to say that he feels the future is bright for the OSU program and that he wants to be a part of that.

"I think there's a lot of potential on this team," he said. "I want to come back and win some championships, win a Big Ten championship and make it deep into the tournament, hopefully Final Four or a national championship. I just want to leave here as a winner, not as an almost. I want to leave here as a winner and I think we have that potential. Right now I'm just focused on that."

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the draft is April 26, but players that do not hire an agent have until June 15 to opt to head back to school. The draft is scheduled for June 25.

Turner said he is not planning on entering his name into the draft and laughed about the prospect.

"I honestly haven't thought about it," he said. "I'm coming back. Right now I've got to worry about finals for real. I've got to go home and do a paper."

Win ‘Em All: As reported in the game story against the Wildcats, one day after losing David Lighty to injury head coach Thad Matta gave his coaching staff a goal of 20 wins in the regular season.

That goal was not passed on to the players, however.

"They think we're going to win every game," Matta said.

It was then pointed out to the head coach that sophomore center Dallas Lauderdale predicted an undefeated season during the fall before the first game of the year.

"If Dave got hurt, you never know," Matta said with a smirk. "He was right to that point."

Lauderdale OK: It was a scary moment for the Buckeyes late in the first half of the Northwestern game when Lauderdale went to the ground in a heap after being fouled under his own basket.

In a bizarre scene, Lauderdale laid on the floor while being attended to by trainers during a timeout at the same time OSU's dance team took the court to entertain fans. He immediately went to the locker room after being helped to his feet, but he returned and saw two minutes' worth of action in the second half.

After the game, Matta said Lauderdale was fine but indicated that his shoulder might have come out of its socket. One day later, the head coach repeated both points.

"He is good to go," Matta said. "I talked to (the trainer). He said he should be good to go. I didn't get if it popped out or whatever it was."

Deep Thoughts: When Turner needs some inspiration, he heads to the bathroom in his dorm room.

As the Buckeyes struggled to put Northwestern away down the stretch, Turner said he drew strength from a quote he recently read attributed to Muhammad Ali.

"He said champions aren't made just doing anything, they are made by whoever has the last ounce of energy and who wants it more, who's tough enough to pull it out," Turner said, paraphrasing. "That inspired me on the inside and I just tried to make plays."

Where did he hear the quote?

"It's on a poster I just bought off the internet," he said. "It's in my bathroom now."

Great Question: After the win against Northwestern, Matta was asked why his team had suddenly had success winning close games. During a three-game losing streak in mid-February, the Buckeyes lost those games by a combined 10 points.

This week, OSU defeated Iowa and Northwestern by a combined seven points. Matta had no answer for why the Buckeyes are suddenly winning close games, remarking that it was a great question.

The reporter who asked the question then replied that he needed a great answer for his story and not a great question, and Matta laughed.

"We're all a little testy at the end of the season, aren't we?" he said with a laugh.


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