The coaching transition at LSU could help out NC State.
LSU hired former Tigers' assistant coach Johnny Jones on April 13 to replace Trent Johnson, who left for Texas Christian. LSU sophomore wing Ralston Turner has been released from his scholarship with two years of eligibility remaining. He originally picked the Tigers over Alabama, Georgia, Notre Dame and Butler, among others.
The 6-foot-6, 205-pounder from Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High was a standout with the Alabama Challenge and Rivals.com ranked him No. 142 overall and the No. 28 small forward in the class of 2010.
He scored 21 points or more in three games his freshman year en route to averaging 12.3 points per game for the 11-21 Tigers. He shot 36.9 percent from the field and 32.2 from three-point land. Turner hit a season-high five three-pointers in a 70-69 loss to Wichita State on Dec. 18, 2010, and had at least two three-pointers in 16 contests.
Turner followed up his freshman year by averaging 9.1 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, but his three-point accuracy increased to 37.2 percent. He shot 37 percent from the field. Turner exploded for 22 points in a 67-59 win over Marquette on Dec. 19, 2011, and drained 4 of 5 three-pointers against the Golden Eagles.
Turner cracked double figures in seven SEC games, and had 14 points and four three-pointers in a 96-76 NIT loss at Oregon on March 13.
"He's a heck of a shooter first of all," said Robert Shannon on Monday, who coaches the Alabama Challenge traveling team. "I thought he was one of the best shooters in the country. He's a competitor and he's a good kid. Whoever gets him will be getting a good player and will appreciate him."
NC State coach Mark Gottfried coached at Alabama up until Jan. 26, 2009. Turner eventually picked LSU nine months later on Sept. 14, 2009.
"If he's going to visit NC State, that is definitely the connection there," Shannon said. "Coach Gottfried heavily recruited him. That's a big-time connection there."
Shannon was genuinely surprised that Turner was leaving LSU, but coaching transitions can be tough sometimes.
"I'm pretty shocked that he is transferring because I thought he was pretty much happy there, but then you had the coaching change," Shannon said. "I had been hearing he was going to transfer, but hadn't heard from him. I got to see him play a couple of times a year at LSU."
Turner was a strong student coming out of high school and has leadership potential.
"Ralston was a good leader by example," Shannon said. "He's not too big of a vocal kid. He tried to lead by his actions. He's a good kid who carries himself in a professional way. He's the ideal student-athlete."
Turner is completing his final exams at LSU this week. Tigers basketball SID Kent Lowe was unaware of Turner's plans.