Sunday, August 8, 2010

Griffs' Turner Signs to Play Professionally

One of this blogger's favorite players of recent vintage has been former Canisius standout Frank Turner, the Golden Griffin's 5-10 point guard of the past four seasons.

Turner's contributions belied his height ... and his contributions were plentiful. My conention is that he has been one of the MAAC's most-underappreciated performers. Had I a vote, he would have been a first-team all-conference selection for this past season. Instead he was a third-team pick. To me, that was the most noticeable "slight" of this past season's all-star selections.

Turner not only was a standout performer on the court, but graduated a year early from Canisius and spent his senior season there working towards a masters' degree. From several interactions with him, your blogger found Turner a well-spoken, intelligent, witty young man.

It all comes to mind with the recent news that Turner has signed a professional contract to join Eiffel Towers Den Bosch, a pro team that plays in Holland in the Holland-Eredivisie. Turner signed a one-year deal with the team that finished third in the league’s standings last season.

“From an individual standpoint, Frank has accomplished many things in a relatively short amount of time,” Canisius head coach Tom Parrotta said, in a release issued by Canisius recently. “He has earned two college degrees, he has his name splashed throughout the program’s record book and he has become the example for every student-athlete that comes to Canisius College from here on out. It is very simple – get a great education, play your heart out on the basketball court and be a solid individual off the court. Frank accomplished all three of these things and then some. I’m extremely proud that Frank has realized his dream of playing professional basketball and I feel he will do very well at the next level. I am very anxious to follow his pro career.”

Turner ended his career with the Golden Griffins ranked in the top-10 in 12 different statistical categories at the College, and he goes down in the Canisius record book ranked first in career games played (125), career minutes (4,567) and career assists (616), while ranking fourth in career points (1,769) and third in career steals (193). He closed out the 2009-10 season ranked sixth in the MAAC in scoring average (16.2 points per game), second in assists per game (5.7 per contest) and first in steals per game, with 2.1 swipes per outing. A three-time All-MAAC selection, he was chosen as an NABC All-District Second-Team honoree, as well as being named to the ADA Division I-AAA Basketball Scholar-Athlete Team and the MAAC All-Academic Team after his senior campaign.

“This is the next step for me and I am very anxious to get my pro career started,” Turner said, in the school's press release. “Canisius has started something very special for my family, my city, and for me personally. This is an opportunity that the coaching staff told me about from day one. Similar to my education, they promised me if I worked hard, great things would happen on and off the court. My game has evolved tremendously thanks to the players I was around for four years, and from the help of the coaching staff. I feel like it has been so long since my last game, and knowing that its about to start again in a new place is a such great feeling. I promise the entire Canisius community that this is just a start for me and you will continue to hear my name.”

Turner is the first Canisius player to sign a professional contract since former Griffs Chuck Harris and Darnell Wilson signed to play professionally in Europe after the 2006-07 season. Wilson recently signed a one-year deal with the Antwerp Giants in the top professional league in Belgium.

“We got to see Frank’s game at the Las Vegas [combine], but we also got a good look at the person behind the player,” Eiffel Towers head coach Jos Frederick said in a release on the team’s website. “Turner earned his college degree in three years and also earned his master’s degree as well. It may have little connection with his basketball skills, but it says something about his person.”

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