With Summerside Storm
What a challenging time the last months have been for Josiah Turner, and now he’s touched down in Summerside with a chance to start anew.
Turner is the absurdly talented point guard the Storm signed this week to back up Al Stewart. He suits up for the first time on Thursday, when the Storm hosts the London Lightning at Eastlink Arena at 7 p.m.
For someone who has yet to hit his 21st birthday, there have already been an awful lot of stops in his basketball career. It’s safe to say things haven’t worked out at all the way he had expected them to.
He was a spectacular high school player at a couple of schools in California, then spent most of last season with the University of Arizona, where he suffered from highly pressurized expectations of greatness (some had tagged him to be a first-round NBA draft choice upon completion of his freshman season).
He had a rough start, ended up leaving school, and this summer signed with a Hungarian team. He somehow ended up with the Halifax Rainmen when the National Basketball League (NBL) of Canada season started, and then was released a few weeks ago. The Storm signed him this week.
What an odyssey, and for someone so young. It would test even the most seasoned veteran. When all is said and done, he’s just a kid. Not yet 21.
This is no time to give up on him, or for him to give up on himself. You have to root for him to pull it all back together, starting right here in Summerside. He’s in a good spot, with a solid coach, good teammates and a wonderfully supportive community.
The path to the NBA is still open, although quite a bit more circuitous and demanding than he thought it might have been. With any luck he can take the first steps along the journey starting here, starting now. We’d all love to see a Storm alumnus getting a shot at “The Show.”
Can’t wait to see him play, although it will surely take a while to get his head to stop spinning from all the changes in his life. And I hope he’s staying warm in this sub-Arctic climate that’s afflicted us this week.
The Storm is even doing a two-for-one on tickets for Thursday and Friday because of the temperatures.
The Storm-Lightning game is the first meeting of the two division leaders in the National Basketball League of Canada, and could be a playoff preview.
The veteran Lightning is the class of the league, rolling smoothly along with a 23-2 (won-lost) record as they seek to win their second straight title.
The Storm will have to have all systems firing at peak capacity for this one. Coach Joe Salerno said this week that he’ll be looking forward to seeing how his team bounces back from Sunday’s disappointing loss, when the Storm’s six-game win streak came crashing to an end as they were unable to protect a 20-point halftime lead against Oshawa.
It’s a challenging weekend for the Storm, who also plays Friday at home against Halifax before returning the favour with a visit to the Rainmen on Sunday.
Bob Gray is a freelance journalist with a long history of P.E.I. basketball reporting. He welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org, and can be followed on Twitter @bgray5.