Turner Makes 'Agonizing' Decision To Go Pro

Admitting that it was far from an easy decision, Ohio State point guard Evan Turner chose the NBA over a potential senior season at Ohio State. Find out what went into Turner's decision, when he arrived at it and what happens next as BuckeyeSports.com brings you the latest.

Describing it as a decision over which he agonized, Evan Turner announced his plans to forego his senior season at Ohio State and head to the NBA.

Seated at a table in between the team's two practice courts, Turner was flanked on his left by head coach Thad Matta. Clutching a white piece of paper that appeared to have a statement written upon it, Turner instead spoke from the heart and said the situation was the realization of a life-long dream.

"The past few weeks have been really hard for me," Turner said. "I've been agonizing over my decision due to the simple fact of how much I love The Ohio State University. I love being a Buckeye. I love my coaches, my coaching staff and being a kid."

Turner's voice wavered as he spoke, but he otherwise kept his composure through the 20-minute press conference. The nation's top player last season, Turner is widely projected as one of the top three picks in this year's draft.

He has not yet hired an agent, but that does not mean he is planning to put his name in the draft in order to test the waters. Underclassmen can declare for the draft without signing with an agent and then can withdraw their name if they do not like the feedback they receive.

Asked if he planned to do the same, Turner said, "I'm two feet in." Matta cracked, "I already asked that."

In the end, it came down to the fact that Turner now feels his game is ready for the NBA. After averaging 17.3 points and 7.1 rebounds as a sophomore, Turner turned down the league in part because he wanted to make sure he was talented enough to make an impact in the NBA.

After averaging 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.0 steals as a junior, Turner decided he was ready.

The decision was made around 9 or 10 p.m. Tuesday night, he said.

"I decided I wanted to go and I wanted to do it," he said. "I weighed my pros and cons. I felt like whatever I was going to do, I had to be two feet in and I had to be committed. This is a decision I'm committed with."

The status of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement played a factor in his decision, he said. So too did the fact that he missed six games this past season with two fractured vertebrae in his back following a missed dunk attempt Dec. 5 against Eastern Michigan.

Although Matta said the coach in him wanted Turner to return, the man in him was at peace with the decision.

"I told him up front, ‘I'm OK if you go. Coach Matta wants you back but Thad Matta is OK if you go,' " the coach said. "When I recruited him I said my goal is to help you get what you want. If you get what you want, we'll get what we want and that's a great basketball team and that's exactly what we had this year."

His withdrawal from classes comes in advance of the April 12 deadline that would have hurt the team's Academic Progress Report rating. The Buckeyes' score will not be penalized by Turner's declaration.

Throughout the year, Turner's teammates credited him for not letting thoughts of what might happen after the season distract him from the team's goals. Looking back, Turner said he first got the inkling that he might go to the NBA during the latter part of the season.

"Once February hit I started thinking a little bit about it but I had thoughts of winning a national championship this season," he said. "Afterwards, I was thinking, ‘What am I going to do?' I was in a win-win situation. I felt like if I would've come back we could've done big things but also moving on and going into the NBA I felt like I could do big things. I had to look at it as what would make me happy."

The Buckeyes saw their season end with a Sweet 16 loss to Tennessee. Turner had two three-point attempts in the final seconds to try and knot the game but neither fell. The junior sat glumly on the floor at the top of the circle for a few seconds before heading straight into the team's locker room.

After the game, he said he could not give a percentage on how likely he was to return. Wednesday, Turner said his decision remained up in the air due to the way the season ended.

"I was still 50-50, to tell you the truth," he said. "I knew there was obviously a great chance I could've gone and it would've been my last game but at the same time I was still upset about losing to Tennessee. I was upset about having to sit around and watch other teams play for a national title. I was still focused on the unit at that time as opposed to myself."

Turner has often said he wants to be remembered as someone who was a winner during his collegiate career. Asked what he thinks his legacy will be, Turner said, "I don't know. I can't really say. That's what the writers are for and people who watched me play. They build your legacy. You don't build your own legacy. We'll see in 10 or 15 years."

Teammate and roommate Jon Diebler had another theory.

"I think he's going to have his jersey up in the rafters someday, I really do," Diebler said.


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