Texas Tech basketball: Tech one of many pursuing high-scoring grad transfer

The Texas Tech basketball program is reportedly one of at least 14 programs pursuing Bowling Green grad transfer Justin Turner.

Another grad transfer target for Texas Tech basketball fans to become familiar with is Bowling Green’s, Justin Turner.  That’s because it is being reported that Chris Beard has entered the fracas for the 6-foot-4 guard who is one of the most prolific scorers in the grad transfer portal.

According to the Twitter account of College Basketball Ace as well as Evan Daniels of 247Sports.com, the Red Raiders have been in contact with Turner, who averaged 18.8 points per game this past season.  For his career, he’s scored 17.0 p.p.g. and in each of the last two seasons, he’s topped 18 p.p.g.

After playing just four games as a true freshman before taking a medical redshirt, Turner has started 89 of the last 90 games he’s appeared in for the Falcons of the Mid-American Conference, one of the top mid-major leagues in the country. In 2019-20, he started 24 of 25 games he played, a total that was diminished by an early-season hamstring injury that kept him out of the lineup for six games.

A back-to-back first-team All-MAC selection, Turner has heard from Arkansas, Missouri, Gonzaga, UCONN, Marquette, Cincinnati, Xavier, Arizona State, Louisville, Alabama, Texas, Virginia Tech, and Minnesota in addition to the Red Raiders according to College Basketball Ace.  247Sports also lists Kansas and Oregon as teams that are in the hunt for this dynamic scorer.

An efficient player, the Detroit, Michigan native shot 42.7% from the floor and 36.1% from three-point range this past season.   In addition to putting the ball in the bucket, Turner was also third on his team in both rebounds (4.6) and assists (2.5) per game this year.

For his career, he’s had six 30-point games including a career-high 34 against Northern Illinois in February of 2019.  He’s also had a 26-point game at LSU in 2019 and a 24-point game at St. John’s in 2018.  The only other time he’s faced a major conference opponent was a November 2019 game against Cincinnati when he had ten points.

It appears that Beard and the Red Raiders are interested in ball-dominant guards this offseason.  In addition to Turner, Tech has also reportedly been in contact with Virginia Tech undergraduate transfer Landers Nolley II and UNLV grad transfer Amauri Hardy, both of whom are high-scoring guards that are more than comfortable with the ball in their hands.

We’ve talked quite a bit about this program’s need to add a point guard to run the team in crunch time after the late-game struggles we saw Tech endure this past season and while none of the three guards Beard has reportedly shown interest in are pure point guards, they are all the type of player that can take over games off the dribble when their team needs a bucket.

To understand just how often the Bowling Green offense ran through Turner, we have to look no further than his usage rate, the percentage of possessions that ended with Turner either shooting the ball, assisting on a basket, or turning it over.  This year, his usage rate was 29%, which was almost 3% higher than Tech’s leader, Jahmi’us Ramsey.

Meanwhile, Nolley’s usage rate for VA Tech was 33.9% while Hardy’s was 22.9% for UNLV, which would have been second on the Red Raiders.  For context, know that Keenan Evans‘ usage rate as a senior in 2017-18 was 28.4% and Jarrett Culver‘s rate last season was 31.7%.

Next: Offseason questions facing Red Raiders

Therefore, we are starting to see a pattern develop in the type of player that Beard is essentially shopping for in the transfer portal.  It’s an indication of what he feels his team needs and after all the late-game woes we suffered through this year, it’s easy to understand why.


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