It’s hard to believe in Josiah Turner and his basketball future right about now.
On top of his indefinite suspension from Arizona basketball last season, Turner, 19, was charged with an extreme DUI last Thursday morning while driving a friend’s car without a license, registration or insurance.
With each and every additional off the court blunder Turner proves to coaches across the country that the potential in his 6-foot-3, 192-pound frame isn’t worth the headache.
But few coaches have dealt with more headaches than 70-year-old Larry Brown, who recently took a head coaching job at Southern Methodist University — Turner’s most likely landing spot.
If there’s one coach in the country who can not only deal with Turner’s issues, but potentially even set him straight, it’s Brown.
Not to say that UA head coach Sean Miller wasn’t the right man for the job. He was patient with Turner all season long. He believed in the youngster and gave him chance after chance to change his off the court habits and grow as a player and person.
But with respect to Miller, he’s no Larry Brown.
Brown is undoubtedly one of the greatest coaches the game of basketball has ever seen. The Hall of Famer has been coaching college and professional basketball since 1972, having won 1,275 games during that span.
He’s the only coach in the history of the sport to win both an NCAA National Championship and an NBA Championship.
Long story short, Brown is as accomplished as they come, and all that’s left in his career is to turn around a program like SMU.
He could very well turn around Turner’s life and basketball future in the process. Given Brown, his staff, and the academic prestige of the school, SMU, in theory, is the perfect landing spot for Turner.
Let’s start with Brown.
He coached arguably the biggest headache the NBA has ever seen, Allen Iverson, for seven seasons in Philadelphia. It’s no secret the two butted heads constantly during those seven seasons. It was Brown’s comments that sparked Iverson’s famous “we’re talking about practice” quote.
But at the end of the day, the Sixers won games, Iverson won MVPs and in 2005 the lightning quick guard called Brown “the best coach in the world.”
In addition to Iverson, Brown has had to handle coaching Rasheed Wallace when he was in Detroit, and Stephon Marbury during his crazy times in New York.
Without question, Turner would be a breeze for Brown.
Turner would also have a pair of former NBA players as mentors with George Lynch and Eric Snow rumored to join Brown’s staff in Dallas.
Then there’s the upside of the university. Although there’s no shortage of social life at a school filled with spoiled rich kids waiting to spend money, SMU also has a tradition of excellence in the classroom.
Students are expected to perform in school and stay out of trouble, and Turner would have the resources to do that.
At Arizona, on the other hand, it’s easy to fall off the deep end, just ask Turner.
When all is said and done, it’s up to Turner whether he wants to focus on basketball and take advantage of his God-given talents.
Only he can maximize his potential, mature and better himself off the floor.
But with Brown and his staff at SMU, Turner will have everything he could ask for to put the Arizona chapter behind him and work toward becoming the player analysts thought he would be out of high school.
If he can’t rebound at SMU, it’s hard to believe he’ll ever be able to bounce back.