Evan Turner Praises TBT, Would Consider Playing in Future

Adam Prescott

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Former Ohio State star Evan Turner, the 2010 National Player of the Year in college hoops, reiterated praise and admiration this week toward The Basketball Tournament (TBT) for their continued efforts in building such a reputable event.

Turner, now a 10-year NBA veteran and pending free agent, has served as assistant coach for 2019 champion Carmen’s Crew in the annual winner-take-all, single-elimination, summer showdown. Ohio State’s alumni team won a $2 million prize last year with a victory at Wintrust Arena in his hometown of Chicago.

“We have built a really good relationship with TBT,” Turner said Monday during a media session. “They have done a great job being accommodating and open to what the players might suggest. It’s hard not to commit to something where those people work hard to let you compete (with friends), play basketball and try to get a slice of the pot.”

The squad, originally called Scarlet and Gray before a name change, has been participating since 2017 and endured some narrow defeats. They advanced to the semifinals in their debut run but dropped a double-overtime thriller to Challenge ALS in Baltimore. The group then suffered elimination in the 2018 quarterfinals, hosted in Columbus, to standout Jimmer Fredette’s group of BYU alums.

The championship path finally took complete form last August, beginning in Columbus once again and leading up to Carmen’s Crew knocking off four-time defending champs Overseas Elite in the semifinals. They culminated two days later with a 66-60 triumph over Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni).

Evan Turner during 2019 TBT in Chicago

“We just appreciate the opportunities TBT has provided in general,” Turner said. “One year we were talking, letting them know that it would be rocking if they were ever interested in coming to Ohio. They have always done a professional job and been great people.”

The Tournament is completely in Columbus, Ohio this time around due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. A condensed field of just 24 teams is playing all games inside Nationwide Arena downtown, with players staying at the same “hotel bubble.”

Carmen’s Crew dropped a tough 76-68 game with House of ‘Paign in the Round of 16 Wednesday afternoon to suffer an early elimination.

Featuring a 10-man roster this week, Carmen’s Crew rolled out mainstays David Lighty, William Buford, Aaron Craft and Jon Diebler once again along with other notable Buckeyes. Dallas Lauderdale, DeShaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr. also took part while former OSU players Jared Sullinger, Evan Ravenel, LaQuinton Ross and even Greg Oden have suited up along the way.

Sullinger, who coached the team for a second season, also had a roster that returned Jeff Gibbs (Otterbein), Demetri McCamey (Illinois) and newcomer Malik Dime. Asked if he would ever consider playing in the future, Turner was hesitant but wouldn’t rule it out.

“I don’t know honestly, because I like my summers a lot,” Turned began. “But if it was a final thing like Aaron (Craft) did, then why not? These guys are my best friends and, regardless, we’re going to hang out and play basketball nonstop. I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else in general but with them, so I would do that for free.”

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