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Report: Josiah Turner balks on SMU, will pursue pro career

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer
Turner leaves college with six games played total and potential never met. (US Presswire)

Yahoo Sports' Jeff Eisenberg reported Tuesday night that former Arizona guard/SMU transfer Josiah Turner would not go through on his commitment to Larry Brown's new program.

Turner spoke to Eisenberg in the immediate wake of his decision, which is surprising. Players don't usually transfer out of school this time of year, especially when a player has yet to play a game for the school.

So it's a big news splash for early-July in college basketball, considering Brown is a huge name at a small school, and Turner would've been the best player on the team next season. Now SMU is without a starting point guard and there are questions about the team and positives over hiring a 71-year-old to resurrect a long-dormant program.

Turner's long been seen as a head case, a player with a lot of talent but not much control. His emotions and immaturity have dogged him the past couple years. Turner swears he's more mature. There's nothing wrong with bypassing school to achieve the dream, but the Draft just passed, and he's effectively a year behind.

The Yahoo Sports report states Turner began to change his mind on attending SMU -- and attending college -- during workouts in L.A. over the late spring and early summer. Turner committed to transfer to SMU on May 4, when he told CBSSports.com, "It's a great fit for me."

That means within a month, Turner had the seed planted on leaving before he arrived. He was ready to renege on SMU quickly.

"I had to step back and reevaluate what my main goal and my dream was," Turner said. "My dream is to be a professional athlete in the NBA and I think this is what's going to bring me closer to it. In college, you get your degree and everything, but going pro is getting me closer to my dream and what I want to do in life."

Turner missed almost all of last season while at Arizona due to suspensions, including missing the Pac-12 tournament. He was kicked off Arizona's team at season's end. Soon after, Turner was arrested on suspicion of a DUI -- and this was before he committed to SMU.

He told Yahoo Sports he's aware of his reputation.

Turner acknowledged Tuesday that both alcohol and marijuana were "big issues" for him during his one year at Arizona, but he insisted he has reevaluated his life since his arrest. Even though it's only three months later, the 20-year-old says he's ready to set a better example for his younger and older sisters.

"My maturity level now is way higher than it was when I was in Arizona," Turner said. "I was young. I made mistakes. I just learned a lot from last year thinking about where I could be at right now and thinking about the things I did last year. It was all stupid."

It was. Hopefully this won't be. College basketball moves along, and Josiah Turner moves on.

Now, the question I can't help but go back to: What about the former captain of the team, the sophomore point guard, Jeremiah Samarrippas? Remember him? Probably not, but he's one of the players Brown cut to make room for Turner.

Now Brown's without both. He has no high-caliber guard to run his offense. And the school finds itself in the news again, but not for optimal reasons. This is becoming a trend for SMU, and we haven't even seen it play a game under Brown.

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