Exclusive Evan Turner Pre-Draft Workout and Interview
ET gives SLAMonline all access.
by Rodger Bohn / @rodgerbohn
Much love to Evan Turner. At a time where agents are the most worried about media reports about what their players can or cannot do, he gave SLAMonline (and our friends at City League Hoops) exclusive access to a typical pre-Draft workout of his on the campus of Ohio State.
My relationship with ET goes way back, though. Back in my younger days of freelancing for various Rivals sites and my tenure over at DraftExpress. I was fortunate to see him really do his thing in Las Vegas during the summer of ’06 and then again at the Roundball Classic, when everyone had him pegged as a borderline top 75 guy. Fast-forward three years and now he’s the likely No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft. Thanks for putting in the hard work and making me look good, ET!
Turner made the very unconventional decision of selecting a relatively unknown trainer. In a day where virtually everyone goes to Chicago, Cali, or Las Vegas to train with the big name guys, he spurned them to go with Quentin Rogers of Get Your Game Right. Don’t get it twisted though, Rogers is no slouch himself. He played professionally overseas and is the only person ever to coach a team (All Ohio Red 07-09) to three consecutive AAU National Championships.
“I think that Evan wanted to go with someone who has already improved him and who he was comfortable with,” said the man who has been training Turner for a little over a year now. “He knew what worked and stuck with someone who already has a track record of getting him better.”
Turner added “I just felt comfortable staying here. I worked out with Q prior to this season and I liked a lot of his ball handling drills. He’s all about adding stuff to my game, rather than switching up my techniques.”
The regimen Rogers is putting Turner through is rigorous, to say the least. Every single morning, the Ohio State junior has to get 400 makes (including 100 NBA threes) from various spots on the floor. From there it’s a break for some lunch and a little weights on certain days, then back to the hardwood for an evening session. Mondays are for his post game, Tuesdays focus on ball handling, Wednesdays are triple threat, Thursdays are strictly for pull-ups off the bounce, and Fridays are for moves attacking the rim. While this may seem like a ton for most, Q says it’s nothing for Turner.
“It’s been a great experience working with him. He takes no days off. He’ll get right off of a flight and text me to go to the gym. Evan has never begged for a day off and never canceled,” explained the man most refer to as Q. “Once this process is over with him, I’m going to be taking a vacation myself!”
Living up to his rep, we caught him straight off the plane from the Chicago Pre-Draft Combine, putting in work at Ohio State. As he was doing some form shooting, we rapped with him about the experience a bit off camera. Knowing that I’m a Cleveland guy, the first thing that he asked me was what I thought LeBron was going to do. Once we got on to the Chicago stuff, ET said was quite fond of John Wall and gave us a couple of guys who really caught his eye in Chicago.
“He’s a real cool guy, both on and off the court,” the Chicago native said of Wall. “We’ve been texting each other.” As for the other cats who made an impression in Chicago, ET mentioned James Anderson and Paul George as two dudes who really showed out in the drills. He cited Anderson’s polish and George’s combination of size and athleticism for a two guard.
Once the on court activity started, Turner went through a wide range of shooting drills. He debuted with shooting mid-range Js from the five main spots on the floor. From the 15- to 18-foot range, he was absolutely automatic from a catch and shoot position. This wasn’t much of a surprise, since the National Player of The Year showed he could do that during his time in Columbus.
From there, the standstill Js extended to the collegiate and NBA three-point lines. Immediately you saw that his jumper from the college three had improved a bit, given the fact that he hit right around 75 percent of them (based on our stats). We got only a brief sneak peak on what everyone wanted to see though: How well he can shoot the NBA three.
The initial thing that caught our eye when ET was shooting the NBA three was the improved lift that he had on his shot. At 6-7 with that release point, he should have no problem getting it up over defenders in the League. He dipped the ball down a little bit, but still hit over 60 percent of his NBA threes. It was clear that he was more comfy shooting from the top of the key and the corners, as opposed to the wing…given the fact that he was nearly 90 percent from up top and the corners.
While everyone is so concerned about Turner’s jumper, it’s clear that he will never be known as a ” straight shooter” from the NBA three-point line. Turner and Rogers both acknowledge that themselves as well.
“It’s just another weapon that we’re adding to his arsenal,” Q explained. “He can really hit it off of the move too, not just from a standstill. If they know you can hit it, they have to stay honest defending you.
With the set shooting drills over, the workout concluded with a series of pull-up jumpers after weaving throughout many cones. Evan was forced to make 10 jumpers after going through inside-outs, crossovers, step-backs, and hesitation moves. It was immediately evident that he has the potential to be downright nasty coming off of high ball screens shooting the rock, even out to the collegiate three point line. Everyone throws out the Brandon Roy comparison and you couldn’t help but think it based on the drills they had him doing.
After seeing this, it was clear this guy has the work ethic to be something special in the League. Oh, and did we mention this workout was at 11 p.m.? Both Turner and Rogers are confident that things will work for ET based on his track record.
“I think Evan will succeed based on the mindset that he has. He is so mentally focused,” exclaimed his trainer. “He will not relax being a second or third option on a team. He truly wants to be great.”
ET threw in, “It’s not about where you begin, it’s about where you end. I ended college well and my career is still going. It’s a new beginning, and I want to end well.”
As long as he keeps grinding like this once he’s in the League, you can count us on board too, ET.
Check out the full interview below, as we discuss a wide variety of topics such as how he fits in Philly and the noticeable chip he has on his shoulder.