Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Steady progress makes Turnbull a star

A key moment in this past Saturday's OUA East championship game highlighted how far Carleton's 6'3" wing Stuart Turnbull has progressed during his career. After arch-rival Ottawa Gee-Gees appeared to snatch momentum by scoring the first 4 points of the second half to go up 3 and threatened to go further ahead after a blocked shot gave them the ball back, Turnbull used his defense, which earlier in his career showed up on opposition game plans as an area to exploit, to help turn the game around, picking Gee-Gees 6'4" Josh Gibson-Bascombe and feeding a teammate for an easy breakaway lay-in that started a 10-0 Raven run and essentially iced the contest. Turnbull's is one of the more appealing stories associated with the Ravens this season as the fourth-year combination guard out of Kingston Frontenac has emerged as a genuine 1st team all-star, an honour that would have likely been questioned earlier in his career. Looking back, Turnbull came out of high school with a reputation as a three-point bomber who needed to raise the level of his defensive skills, especially on the ball, and did not have the requisite handle to create offense for himself, let alone run a team from the point. With plenty of hard work on the floor, in the weight room and off court mental preparation, Turnbull has deservingly developed into one of Canada's top all-round guards. Based on his stellar career in high school, Turnbull's reputation as a strong perimeter shooter was warranted and he was recruited by several schools on both sides of the border including home town Queen's but decided to commit to Ravens Coach Dave Smart, coming off his first National championship, who convinced Turnbull to move to the Nation's Capital. Turnbull saw solid minutes off the bench as a freshman and, despite raw offensive skills, even early on showed the confidence and fearlessness that characterizes his play to this day. Always quietly confident and mentally tough since entering the CIS as a freshman, he has rarely let a mistake bother him, never worrying about the last shot or last play. Early on, Turnbull had his difficulties handling the ball with any regularity and his ability to create for himself was limited. Still, without a doubt he was a vital cog in the Ravens second and third championships in his first two seasons, bringing energy and an honest, workmanlike approach to the game and the respect of even his closest rivals. Significant time in the weight room and in the gym perfecting his handle have made him a difficult check on the ball and he now has the ability to get to the rim or draw defenders and find people. But his real value is the example he sets with how hard and honest he plays - harder than anyone on his team in my opinion on a group that has a reputation of never taking a possession off. He will easily get down on the floor without hesitation for any loose ball, takes charges at will and sticks his nose inside to battle for rebounds. His offensive game has changed dramatically from early on when he was not much more than a spot up shooter who could beat a close out occasionally to get to the rim. He now is the table setter and primary finisher off the dribble; surprisingly, he is not as consistent with his three point shooting as he was upon entering the league. As Turnbull develops a medium range game where he can push defenders back with the dribble to rise up and shoot the 15 to 18 footer, his game could evolve into one where Canada Basketball considers him for one of their programs. Now one of Carleton's most experienced and productive players, Turnbull looks to continue to add to his and his team's growing legacy with another CIS National championship.


canadel62 said...

Hello Mark I like most of your stuff but I would award an Oscar/Genie/Tony at times to Aaron Doornekamp he's had quite a few chippie games/incidents in his career not least of all was the one instigating the Dax Dessaurault affair at the last Ottawa/Carleton contest. I thought that incident essentially broke the game open for Carleton. This type of behaviour takes a lot in my mind away from the other quality aspects of his game, and game he is,.. as he MUST drag his butt off the floor several times in each of his contests otherwise I've not had my season tickets moneys' worth.

Anonymous said...

Getting back on topic....I must say that Stu Turnbull is my favourite Raven player on this year's team.
In fact, he's probably my all-time favourite Raven.
Stuey has put an incredible amount of work into his game and it has paid off handsomely.
He is a first team conference all-star and maybe one of the most unsung players in the country.
When Carleton beat Ottawa 70-66 last month, it was agreed by both the players and coach Smart that it was a sub-par effort on the Ravens part.
However, a notable exception was Turnbull with his 27 points who basically saved the game for Carleton.
Doornekamp is the OUA east Moser candidate and rightfully so.
But Turnbull is in fact the Ravens leading scorer this year and on many nights has been Carleton's best player.