BOSTON (CBS) – Evan Turner is still not officially a member of the Boston Celtics. Despite agreeing to terms with the team last month, Danny Ainge still has to clear out a roster spot in order to create space for the swingman. That looming move, whether it is the trading or cutting of a player, should come in the next couple of weeks right before training camp begins.
So even though Turner is not technically a Celtic just yet, one player on the team’s roster isn’t hiding his enthusiasm to play alongside the 2010 second overall pick: Turner’s long-time friend and fellow Ohio State Buckeye Jared Sullinger.READ MORE: New Memorial In Worcester Honors Firefighters Killed In Line Of Duty
“Me and Evan have been working out back at Ohio State,” Sullinger said last week while volunteering at a school in Jamaica Plain. “We have been playing open gyms. We are really excited [to play together].”
Turner and Sullinger missed playing together by one season at Ohio State a few years back. Turner was the national player of the year in 2010 during his junior year with the Buckeyes, but with an NBA lockout expected at the end of the 2010-11 season, Turner elected to go pro a year early. He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in June 2010.
Meanwhile Sullinger started his career in Columbus the year after Turner moved on in 2010, and he carried a talented Ohio State roster to a No. 1 seed and a Sweet 16 appearance in the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
In anticipation of playing with Turner this season, Sullinger also reflected on just how talented that 2011 Ohio State team may have been had he and Turner had a chance to share the floor.
“Yeah, you know we were talking about that a couple weeks ago,” Sullinger admitted. “We were talking about how if it wasn’t for the lockout the following season, he probably would have stayed for his senior year. The team we would have had my freshman year (which would have been Turner’s senior year) would have been special.”READ MORE: 2 Extricated From Car After Crash In Medford
While it may be fun to look back at the good old days, Turner’s career in the NBA hasn’t panned out like he had been hoping for, at least at this point. While calling Turner a complete bust might be extreme, he’s been a talented but inconsistent player throughout his four years in the league. His play with the Indiana Pacers after the trade deadline was also underwhelming last year, and head coach Frank Vogel dropped him out of the rotation in the postseason.
Despite Turner’s flaws, Sullinger is adamant that the guard will be a major asset in Boston.
“I think everyone is down on him because of how the trade happened and what happened in the trade and how Indiana played. I think people misunderstand Evan. He’s a great basketball player, great teammate. I’ve known him for years. He’s all about winning, that’s his main goal, and we bring a great opportunity for him,” Sullinger said.
Turner will surely get plenty of opportunity with his new team, but he will have to fight for minutes within a crowded Celtics backcourt. The hope is that Turner will be able to bounce back from a subpar season and look more like the top-notch NBA prospect that scouts were expecting him to be back in 2010. Sullinger’s presence in Boston should only help that possibility as Turner attempts to create more memorable moments like this at the TD Garden next season.'Loss Of A Beautiful Boy': Candlelight Vigil Held In Memory Of 5-Year-Old Elijah Lewis
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