May 9, 2012

Turner’s sports trifecta

Kevin McCarthy

Leverage is defined as being in a position of power. That's exactly the latitude and longitude five-star blue chippers find themselves residing in when college coaches of all sports come calling. Seaside High's Ronnie Turner may not be in that stratosphere, at least not yet, but his multi-sport proficiency in basketball, football and baseball and his evenly divided enjoyment of all three may provide him some bargaining power come college scholarship time.

photo of Ronnie Turner

Standing 6-foot-5 and 160 pounds, Turner is a frontcourter in basketball, a baseball pitcher (the closer) and primarily a wide receiver in football. He earned First Team All Tri-County League honors in basketball as a 15-year-old sophomore this last season at Alvarez High in Salinas.

However, the Turner family has since moved to Seaside and the high school there will now be the recipient of his all-around athletic prowess.

Assessing his tri-sport self, Turner offered, "as a wide receiver, I'm tall, quick on my feet, lengthy and have good hands." On the baseball diamond, "as a pitcher, my best pitch is my slider, I call it Cutter Butter because it cuts so smooth like butter." His height and reach also makes it seems like he is dropping the ball in the catcher's mitt.

With basketball, it's "my best skills are my jumping ability and my ballhandling and driving." He's working to improve his shooting, "but I'm also working on everything." Turner suffered a knee injury last season, a two and a half centimeter tear, but a brace and physical therapy got him back on the court just four games later.

NorCalPreps’ Douglas Bention caught Turner in action last February 12 and here's the impression he made: "Turner plays with good bounce in making plays in transitions and stepping out for a mid-range jumper, 19 footer and a two 3s. He didn't force his offense and is an underclassman to watch from the Salinas area."

Alvarez Basketball Coach Mark Haddan provided these numbers for Turner's sophomore season: 17.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks per game and described his sophomore as "a very talented player. Ronnie's best attributes in basketball are his quick transition from defense to offense and the fact that he is so coachable and wanting to learn to become a better player." Haddan certainly knows his basketball as he holds the CCS record for most points scored in a game with 65, set in 1972 when he was at nearby Alisal High and, remember, there was no three-point line at the time. Haddan later went on to play at Fresno State.

With hoops, Turner was inspired by the story of LeBron James because "he grew up with nothing and is now an NBA star."

Come the fall, it will be playing for Coach Alfred Avila, whose football team is coming off a 2-8 season overall, 2-4 in league play. Then its Coach Kelvin Garrett, whose roundball club finished 18-10 overall, 9-6 in the Monterey Bay League (MBL) action. With backcourt seniors-to-be Kyle Hieb and Joe Jakubowsky returning, the Spartans just may find themselves the favorites. Finally, Coach Tony Beza will welcome Turner to the Seaside High baseball diamond.

Seaside is playing in the A league in basketball next season, meaning its opponents will be Alvarez, Christopher, Hollister, Monterey, Palma and Salinas. In football, Seaside will be aligned with the B league consisting of Alisal, Monte Vista Christian, North High, North County, Pajaro, Seaside and Watsonville.

As to which sports he will select two years from now, "it will be a matter of the best offer."

Turner's academics are on target and he's currently hitting the school weight room at 6 a.m. each morning.

He especially wanted to "thank God, my Dad, Mom, brothers and sisters for their unflagging support because without them there would be no me."

By the way, brother Michael is a year older and a quarterback but also a First Team All County League selection last season on the basketball court.