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Leprechauns' Spotlight - Zavier Turner

They are larger than life, skilled athletes. Some have played all around the world. Sure, you can see their performance while playing basketball, keep up with their stats, and shake their hands after a game, but who are they individually? Over the next few weeks I want to shine a spotlight on these guys. I want to celebrate each man individually. A lot of these guys have good stories to tell and interesting backgrounds. I can't wait to introduce them to you.

Starting with our #1 PG Zavier Turner.

The 29 year old Indianapolis native, at 5'9'' and 175lbs, played high school, college ball, TBL, and even some internationally. "Basketball is my life. Outside of family time and sleep, I spend a lot of my time training." - Zavier Turner

Zavier spends most of his time with family, playing in France made that hard for him. Zavier is a father of two boys, ages 3 years and 11 months. Growing up his father introduced him to the game at a very young age. His grandmother and mother always supported him in everything he does. He started playing at 3 years old at Watkins Park in Indianapolis and has not stopped since. He was inspired by players like Allen Iverson, Isaiah Thomas, Chris Paul, and Damien Lillard.

Growing up he said he was a "knuckle head". His dad helped shape him into the player he is today with discipline and teaching a strong work ethic. As a player he has benefitted from this, but also as a person he has grown as well. As a point guard, you need to have a leader mentality, a determination, focus, Zavier definitely has all of these qualities fine tuned.

"I think being the point guard on the team, your peers look at you as a leader and I've been in this role my whole life, it comes natural at this point. At first, in college, I was more so letting my actions and game speak for me, but when I transferred to Manhattan to go play for Masiello, he didn't play that, you had to be vocal and hold people accountable if you were the PG. In France, even though we spoke different languages, my coach demanded me to communicate with my teammates. It was a struggle at first but I managed to figure it out. Playing back in the states, it is easy, we all speak the same language and slang. Its been a yr and a half since I played on a professional team with a schedule, traveling, and practice. I just been in the gym trying to stay in shape and sharpen my tools during that time off. I'm excited for it I don't take none of this for granted I'm like a caged animal right now. I want to thank the TBL and Lebanon Leprechauns organization for the opportunity to play and help us win games and I can promise to compete at high level every time I step on the court."

-Zavier Turner

Zavier played varsity all 4 years at Pike High School. After high school it came down to two division 1 schools, Saint Louis in the A10 and Ball State in the MAC. He chose to stay close to home and went to Ball State University where he attended for two years. He won MAC freshman player of the year in his first season. After his sophomore year, he transferred to Manhattan. He finished his college career at Manhattan a 1,000 point scorer and got his degree.

After college, he played in Romania, and for the TBL (Owensboro and Indy Express). He got his breakthrough while playing in France (Garrone), he average 21 points and 6 assists. He spent 10 months there.

In an interview with Zavier, I asked him how training camp was going and how he felt about the team so far. "Its a good group of guys, different in our own way, but we can mesh well. We get along with each other really well." (Photo supplied by Zavier Turner)

You could definitely tell that these guys have a special chemistry bonding them together already. Laughing and trading stories while waiting for their interviews and headshots, it is like they are all old friends just hanging out together.

Zavier seems like a very focused athlete. From the conversations we have had and watching him observe Sunday's Medora exhibition game. We talked a bit about the team relationship with coaching staff and he said "Coach Benson is great. As a point guard you need to have a good relationship. You need to reciprocate what he is, but on the floor." That it is a very interesting point of view, I knew he was a leader, but Coach Benson is out on the floor along with these guys at all times. That is incredible to me.

Watching this guy during practice, I was impressed at the way he commanded the floor. He spoke up, every player looked up and listened. That is a leader. He is always ready to offer up ideas and adjustments. I think it is safe to say we have plenty to be excited about with our new point guard. The coaches sure have positive things to say.

(Photo supplied by Zavier Turner)

"Zavier is a born floor leader. His quickness and the way he sees the floor is down right impressive. With his high level of experience, he’s going to bring us the floor leadership we’ve been looking for. We are excited to see him to lead and contribute all season long."

-Head Coach John Benson

(Photo Credit - Britney Nickle - Leprechauns' VP of Operations)

"Zavier is a very skilled player playing the point position. His court awareness of where people are on the floor and how he also organizes his teammates has shown greatly in preseason practice already. Also, he is showing his desire wanting to be very successful together as a TEAM!"

-Assistant Coach Tim Hird

(Photo Credit - Britney Nickle - Leprechauns' VP of Operations)

Although Zavier did not play in Sunday's exhibition game, he was very much still present on the team. You could see him on the bench focusing on the game. He was in the game and on the floor, you could see him watching and learning about his new teammates, possibly making mental notes of what was being done well, what could be adjusted to make the team stronger. I am ready to see this guy in action on March 1st against the Derby City Distillers. I think we have a very strong playoff team and Zavier plays a major role in that.

(Photo Credit - Britney Nickle - Leprechauns' VP of Operations)

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