Turner’s role with Winston-Salem school similar to what is ahead at Arizonaby Javier Morales on Mar. 01, 2011, under Sports
Winston-Salem (N.C.) Quality Education Academy coach Isaac Pitts Jr. described to me over the weekend how his new star player Josiah Turner immediately fit in with his band of Division I prospects.
Pitts told me in a GOAZCATS.com interview that he put the vote to QEA’s team about whether to accept Turner, a 6-foot-3 point guard who is a 5-star Rivals.com prospect headed to Arizona. Turner was in the process of applying to QEA after seeking to transfer from Sacramento High School, where its coach Derek Swafford dismissed the prospect from the team for missing a game unannounced while deciding his future.
“I was the last guy on the totem pole getting Josiah in here,” Pitts said. “Our guys accepted the idea of bringing Josiah into the program. We already had a great team with plenty of Division I talent, but they were excited about what Josiah could bring to our team.”
Perhaps the most thrilled, believe it or not, was senior point guard Anthony Fields, who has verbally committed to Wake Forest. Fields realized his playing time would be affected, and that his stats would decrease a bit, but he was concerned more about winning a championship, according to Pitts.
As a stroke of genius, Pitts paired Fields and Turner as roommates. That helped Turner and Fields understand each other and it helped create a bond.
“Anthony is our team captain and he’s been very receptive to Josiah from the beginning,” Pitts said. “They spend a lot of time together as roommates. They talk about the game a lot. They encourage each other.
“Josiah did not move into the starting lineup until his fourth game with us, but he always remained positive. We have started Anthony and Josiah together to give us two ball handlers as opposed to only one. Having Josiah there is a big boost to our offensive flow.”
Ironically, all things considered, Turner’s mid-season move from Sacramento to Winston-Salem turned out to be a best-case scenario for Arizona coach Sean Miller. Turner enters a similar situation at Arizona where a quality team is already in place, but it will need Turner to climb another level.
Junior-to-be Lamont “MoMo” Jones and sophomore-to-be Jordin Mayes are already on the roster for next season. If they accept Turner to the Wildcat roster similar to how Fields embraced the idea in Winston-Salem, a championship trophy could return to Tucson, and I don’t mean the Pac-12 variety.