Wednesday, January 13, 1999

NCAA says Turner can play for XU


Freshman adds needed inside depth

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Freshman Aaron Turner, a 6-foot-7 power forward, learned Tuesday he is eligible to play for Xavier, and he might play tonight against St. Bonaventure.

        Turner, who has been practicing with the team, took the ACT Dec. 21 with accommodations for a learning disability that was diagnosed off-campus after he got to Xavier. The NCAA Clearinghouse received his score from XU officials and cleared Turner to play immediately.

        He could see action tonight in the Musketeers' game against St. Bonaventure (7 p.m. Channel 9).

ST. BONAVENTURE at XU
• When: 7 p.m. today
• Where: Cincinnati Gardens (10,100)
• Records: St. Bonaventure 6-8, 1-2 A-10; Xavier 11-4, 3-0
• TV: Channel 9
• Radio: WLW-AM (700)
• Tickets: $13, $9
BY THE NUMBERS • .263: St. Bonaventure's three-point shooting percentage, last in the A-10
• 45: Blocked shots by Bonnies center Caswell Cyrus
• 67: Blocked shots by Xavier's team
        “It's going to be fun, but I'm going to be nervous,” Turner said. “I'm going to have butterflies and all that.”

        Turner should eventually be able to help XU's struggling inside game. The Musketeers have been outrebounded three of the past four games.

        “He's athletic, he likes to rebound and he has a proclivity to score inside despite being a bit undersized,” coach Skip Prosser said. “I think he's one of those guys who plays taller than he is.”

        In practices, the 230-pound Turner has been aggressive in grabbing rebounds and finishing plays inside.

        However, he has practiced more with the opposing team's plays than Xavier's, and Prosser isn't sure how immediate of an impact Turner can have.

        “He's going to be way behind,” Prosser said. “He's obviously not played a Division I game, so if people expect him to come in and be the Second Coming, they'll be disappointed.”

        With junior forward Desmond Walker leaving the team last month, Turner will at least give Xavier some frontline depth.

        The Ohio Division II Player of the Year in 1997 as a senior at Columbus' Mifflin High School, Turner attended Maine Central Institute last season and averaged 19.7 points and 13.9 rebounds.

        “I'm not that tall, but I'm not scared, so I'll go down there and board and bang and stuff like that,” Turner said. “I can't wait to get out there.”

       



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