Evan Turner has not had the best rookie season in the history of basketball. He was the highest drafted rookie that wasn’t selected to play in the Rookie Challenge. He’s started just 12 games for the Sixers and is averaging just 24.3 minutes a game, ninth among rookies. In fact, he plays so little that he told a sideline reporter that he “just wants to play, for crying out loud.” His first NBA season has been a bit of a drop-off for the reigning college player of the year.
But last night, he did something special, which you can see in that video up top. After hitting a tough runner, Turner blocked Acie Law’s layup, then went to the other end of the court and grabbed three consecutive offensive rebounds before finally being fouled. As you can see, the crowd went nuts. Naturally, Turner had no idea what was happening. From the AP:
“I didn’t know what they were cheering for,” Turner said. “I’ve been booed a few times so it’s definitely a great turnaround.”
That right there pretty much sums up Evan Turner’s rookie season. He finally has a great stretch that excites and ignites his team’s fans, only he’s used to being booed so he’s not really sure what’s going on while he’s being applauded. Rough year.
The NBA is quite obviously different from the NCAA, but you’d think Evan Turner would be able to remember what it was like to be cheered. It was just a year ago that he was the most celebrated player in all of college basketball and some people were thinking he could have been the No. 1 pick in that June’s draft. A lot’s happened since then — the White Stripes broke up, “Inception” was finally released, Dominos reinvented their pizza recipe and cetera — but I’m sure Evan Turner has a mild recollection of what being cheered feels like. I know Philly fans can be, let’s say, discerning with their praise, but I’m sure he remembers.
But if not — if it’s really been so long that it’s like he’s being cheered for the first time – I’m glad it’s finally happened. Here’s hoping it doesn’t take another year for it to happen again.