Ralston Turner proved he was one of the best shooters in the country during his two years at N.C. State. The 6-foot-5 guard made 171 3-pointers after transferring from Louisiana State – the most in the ACC during that span.
But so far Turner has struggled to find the same looks at the next level. A reserve guard on the Charlotte Hornets’ NBA Summer League team in Orlando, Fla., the Muscle Shoals, Ala., native has appeared in just two of the team’s four games and has yet to score. He is 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3-point range, but as the team wrapped up its season Friday against Brooklyn, Turner was focusing on what he is gaining rather than a lack of opportunities.
“As a competitor, you want to play a lot, but even when I’m not playing, I’m still engaged and I’m still learning things. Just because I’m not playing doesn’t mean it’s a loss for me,” he said. “It’s a lot different than the college game. Getting the chance to play with players at this level, it’s always easy to pick things up.”
Despite not being able to exhibit the shooting stroke that led to a 33-point, eight 3-pointer explosion against Tennessee last season, Turner explained that his mentality would be the same moving forward and that a simple recipe will get him back on track.
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“So far, I’m 0-for-3 (from 3-point range), I wouldn’t say I’m in a slump or anything. The main thing is just to hit a shot,” he said. “I took three good shots, they just didn’t fall for me. Today, hopefully, I get some to fall.”
Unlike peers such as former Duke guard Quinn Cook – who is playing for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Orlando Summer League and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Las Vegas Summer League – Turner does not have another job lined up after his summer stint for the Hornets ends.
And with newly acquired guard Jeremy Lamb, Troy Daniels and former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston ahead of him on the depth chart at the shooting guard spot, it seems unlikely that the 23-year-old will earn a Hornets’ roster spot immediately. Hairston is averaging 11.3 points and 4.5 rebounds per game in summer league play but shooting just 33 percent.
Turner knows he has work to do to earn a spot on an NBA roster, and he is willing to spend time in the Development League or overseas to do so.
“(I need to) just prove that I can be a knockdown shooter at this level. The NBA line is a little further, so that’s just the main thing I need to do, then worry about the rest from there,” Turner said. “I’ll just see what happens next, weigh my options and hopefully make the best decision possible. … I feel like there are some good opportunities (internationally), so if that’s the best situation for me, I wouldn’t mind doing it.”
Now a few months removed from the N.C. State basketball program, Turner said he misses his old teammates and coaches the most, and the feeling of playing at PNC Arena that he appreciated more as a transfer from the SEC.
“We were like a family,” he said. “You grow close to those guys, you spend a lot of time with them, and (I) also (miss) playing at PNC (Arena). I came from a different situation, so people don’t realize how much of a blessing it is to play in front of an atmosphere like that.”