Turner's transfer leaves Arizona with limited point guard options
Colin Darland / Daily Wildcat
Remember when Josiah Turner was mentioned in the same breath as Marquis Teague and Tony Wroten Jr.?
Remember worrying about what Arizona would do if Turner left Tucson for the NBA after one season?
Well, Turner left, but it certainly didn’t end up being in the one-and-done fashion everyone expected.
After announcing that he’ll transfer on Wednesday, the Josiah Turner era will now end just like Arizona’s 2011-12 season did — with massive disappointment.
The former five-star recruit and No. 2 point guard in the country didn’t even come close to meeting the astronomical expectations that were placed on him when he committed to Sean Miller and the Wildcats.
While the freshmen point guards he was compared to shined on the grandest of stages last season, Turner couldn’t even stay out of Miller’s doghouse.
Teague is now a national champion. Wroten is a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft. Arkansas point guard BJ Young averaged 15.3 points per game and didn’t miss a game all season.
Turner, on the other hand, couldn’t stay on the court, is unsure of where he’ll play next and his NBA prospects are looking more and more grim by the day.
But despite all of the disappointment Turner drove into the hearts of Arizona fans by teasing them with alley-oop passes only to commit a senseless turnover the next play, the Wildcats will sorely miss Turner next season.
Sure, he couldn’t shake his high school habits and had a questionable work ethic. Yes, he only scored in double digits five times all season, never registered more than seven assists in a game and was oftentimes a turnover waiting to happen.
But even with all that said, Arizona is more or less point guard-less without Turner. For all of the headaches he caused Miller throughout the season, Arizona needs the 6-foot-3, 192-pounder next year.
T.J. McConnell will come to the rescue in 2013-14, but who will Arizona turn to until then?
Miller will be starting his fourth different point guard in as many years, and the candidates aren’t exactly intriguing.
Nick Johnson will most likely start the year as Miller’s point. Johnson did a nice job running the show at times last season, especially for never playing the position outside of AAU ball.
But Johnson isn’t a point guard. He can get Arizona into its sets and has decent vision, but he’s not going to blow by opposing point guards or make a ton of plays off of the dribble.
Then there’s Jordin Mayes.
Outside of Turner and Kevin Parrom, due to injuries, Mayes may have been Arizona’s biggest disappointment last season. He struggled with a foot injury and was coming off of a similar injury heading into the season, but Mayes was a non-factor all season after his surprising freshman campaign.
He failed to reach double-figure scoring in conference play, shot 29.7 percent from three and is a mediocre passer at best.
A lot can change in an offseason, but Mayes isn’t the answer.
That brings us to Gabe York.
While the incoming freshman can heat up in a hurry and shoot and leap with the best of them, he’s also not a solid point guard candidate.
He “needs to continue to improve his left hand” and “doesn’t have elite-level quickness to separate off the dribble,” according to his ESPN Insider scouting report.
That leaves Arizona with a trio of undersized shooting guards trying to run the show. The UA’s best ball-handler and passer is probably 6-foot-6 forward Solomon Hill.
That’s a problem.
Although it’s tough not to like Arizona’s chances with York, Brandon Ashley, Kaleb Tarczewski and Grant Jerrett coming in, the Wildcats need a floor general to get those youngsters in the right place on the floor.
Unless the light came on and he really improved his jump shot and decision-making, on and off the court, Turner was never going to live up to his star ranking at Arizona.
But he was still one of the Pac-12’s best passers and could beat his man off the dribble with the best of them.
Arizona will feel his absence in a big way next season while Point Guard U is quickly becoming Point Guard Who?