College basketball recruiting is always a gamble, but when you're dealing with diamond-in-the-rough international prospects who haven't gone through the traditional U.S. development system (not to mention traditional U.S. media hype), it can be like going all-in without getting a good look at your cards.
Seattle University coach Cameron Dollar is hoping he's hit the jackpot with Theo Turner, a 7-foot, 238-pound center from Middlesbrough, England, who averaged 14 points and 11 rebounds in a recent stint with Great Britain's under-18 national team. Turner also spent time at the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain, and with the Newcastle Eagles minor-league team in the United Kingdom.
I was able to speak with Turner a few days after he arrived in Seattle to enroll in summer school and get situated on campus:
REDHAWK NATION: Talk about your recruiting process and how Seattle U became involved.
TURNER: They had been recruiting me for a while. Me and Coach (Darren) Talley talked near enough every day, then he came over and watched me play.
What other colleges were looking at you?
Why did you choose Seattle U?
I chose Seattle U for its excellent academics and great basketball program and coaching staff. When I came over on my visit, Seattle felt like home.
Not really. I mean, it will probably make the transition a little easier, but apart from that, it was mainly the coaches and the school itself.
What has the last year been like, bouncing around the globe and developing as a player?
It's been a great experience. At Canarias, I was training three or four times a day -- very intense, individual workouts. Newcastle has players from American universities such as Princeton and Marquette. It was great going up against them, as it gave me an idea of what it's like to play against American Division 1 players. Then I played for the Tees Valley Mohawks, which is my local team where I lived. Playing with the Great Britain under-18 team was a great experience. It was great to represent my country and play against other national teams.
What are your strengths on the court?
My strengths I feel are rebounding, my agility and athleticism, and my versatility.
What do you think you need to work on?
I need to work on everything. I'm going to work hard this season on making my jump shot more consistent, but everything can be improved. I've only been playing basketball now for just over three years. Starting late meant that I have to put in extra work to get where I want to be.
Did you play any other sports before basketball?
Before basketball I'd done boxing for five years. I only had three fights due to me being a lot heavier than most kids my age. But I won all three unanimously.
What NBA players do you look up to or pattern your game after?
I like watching Marc Gasol and Tim Duncan a lot. I think Tim Duncan is a beast in the paint. I also love watching Kevin Durant play; the way he can dribble and shoot for a guy his size is incredible.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I like to chill, play video games, shoot and listen to music. Oh, and eat.
What would have to happen for you to consider your freshman year a success?
I think we just got to play for each other. The team this year is stacked with talent. Personally, I am going to do whatever role the coaching staff wants me to do to help benefit the team.
Follow Redhawk Nation on Twitter @SURedhawkNation
Follow Austin Burton on Twitter @AustinBurton206