Evan Turner Wasn't Always So Friendly

Evan Turner has become the quintessential college baller. He does everything on the floor and does all of it with a smile. He won the hearts of the blue collar folks by coming back sooner than expected from his broken back. He's picking up Player of the Year honors left and right, and of course his team is on to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament. All of this would've been far-fetched a few years ago, according to teammate Mark Titus. ↵

↵Titus, aka Club Trillion, was on Bill Simmons' podcast, The B.S. Report, and talked about the old, not-so-nice Evan Turner. When asked about Turner's rise in college hoops and on draft boards, he painted quite the picture from a few years back. ↵

↵
↵⇥Titus: I'm very surprised because his freshman year he hated everybody. I don't know how to really explain him his freshman year. Basically, if you would've told me three years ago that he would be the best player in college basketball, I would've laughed. I would've expected him to end up at some NAIA school because he couldn't find a coach that he got along with. He was one of those types. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and I think that's what got him into trouble his freshman year. His personality in the locker room was the same way he played, he was out to get everybody. We were like "We're on your team, you don't have to hate us, we're teammates here." He was out for only himself, but he's turned it around and in two years he's matured a lot and become a great team player and it's fun to watch. ↵⇥

↵⇥Simmons: So does he see that? Would you give him crap about that now? ↵⇥

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↵⇥Titus: Oh yeah, I give him crap. We talk about it all the time. His freshman year, we were just shooting free throws at the end of practice and he was rebounding for me as I was shooting free throws. I shot one and made it and he threw a bullet chest pass back to me, so I tossed the ball back to him and said "Can you just bounce it like maybe a referee would or just not throw it that hard?" And he lost his mind and tried to fight me in practice. Coach [Thad] Matt gets mad at him and we all had to run sprints for it. The next day in practice he got kicked out or something, so yeah there's a lot of stuff like that. I like to remind him that he was a headcase his freshman year. It's kind of funny because now he's a good kid and he's got his head on right and he's destined to do some pretty great things I think. ↵⇥

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↵It's hard to picture an Evan Turner that is such a locker room problem. These days, people have nothing but glowing positive reviews for him. I don't know if I agree with what Simmons later asserts -- that Turner controlling the final two weeks of the tourney would somehow vault him over John Wall in the NBA draft -- but he has clearly come a long way. Listen to the full interview over on ESPN. (Also of note: friend of the blog Alan Sepinwall of the Star Ledger and What's Alan Watching? appeared on the podcast to talk all things TV.) ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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