After a breakout season during his junior year at Tallassee, Tyrek Turner was invited to the first AHSAA Elite 100 boys basketball showcase in Hoover. Turner, a forward for the Tigers, was one of just 100 players throughout the state invited to participate in a camp in front of more than 45 college coaches from across the country and he said the experience was unique to anything else he has done in the past.
“This has been great,” Turner said. “This is a blessing to get out here for the first showcase with a lot of good talent. There are a lot of elite players here and a lot of great competition. It’s been a good experience getting to play with the best players in Alabama.”
Turner and the rest of the high school athletes completed a variety of drills throughout the day to showcase many types of drills for the college coaches to see before finishing the day with scrimmages. Turner said he believes every drill he did during the event will help him as he continues his high school career and beyond.
“I’m out here working on every aspect of my game,” Turner said. “It’s really going to lead into the season so hopefully me and my team can make a trip to state. This is just a good experience to help me out so I can help my team next season.”
After spending a majority of time as Tallassee’s center last season, Turner has pushed himself to develop his game outside of the paint. During the camp in Hoover, he said he focused on things like moving without the ball on offense and switching off screens on the defensive end.
During the 5-on-5 scrimmages to wrap up the day, Turner was often used as the four while his teammate, Deshler’s Sawyer Wright, filled in as the center. Turner was forced to switch on to guards on defense while playing further outside of the paint than he was used to doing with the Tigers.
“That will help me develop my game a lot,” Turner said. “There’s a lot of people here that are way taller than me so I have to adjust to the environment. I’m getting outside some and playing on the perimeter more.”
One of the key things Turner has focused on is developing an outside shot for himself. Last season, Turner was enough of a threat from the outside opposing defenses would have to contest the shot but he wanted to find a quicker release for his shot and it showed during Saturday’s showcase.
“Ever since the end of the season, I got in the gym with coach (Keiven) Mixson to work on my shot,” Turner said. “I would put up five or six hours on the shooting machine to try to get my shot right and I’ve seen it improve a lot. It feels comfortable.”
Turner got to play in front of several well-known coaches from across the south, including Auburn head coach Bruce Pearl and Alabama assistant coach Antoine Pettway. Other schools including Mississippi State, VCU, UAB and Murray State were also represented but Turner said he was not bothered by the attention.
“There was no nervous energy,” Turner said. “I’m just used to it because I go around from state to state playing AAU and there was a lot of college coaches. It’s no pressure so it feels good to be here.”
While he did not feel the pressure, Turner did recognize how special the moment was to get a chance to perform in front of Division I coaches while competing against the state’s best players.
“You see a lot of players out here with multiple D-I offers so you want to play against them to get better,” Turner said. “This will help me better my game because it’s competition you don’t see all the time in school ball.”
Turner is looking to sign a scholarship to play basketball at the next level but he still focused on who he was representing at the showcase. He said it felt good to get the Tallassee basketball program some recognition.
“I know they’re rooting me on back home,” Turner said. “The whole city has shown me support so I just try to go out there and play for them.”