Jul 062010

July 6 Philadelphia Daily News

“The new coach fidgeted like a kid in school during a beautiful day.

The bright, new star-to-be began his pro career like someone who hadn’t played in an organized game since March 26, which Evan Turner hadn’t.

New beginnings don’t always start out so smoothly.

Coach Doug Collins could not keep still at all from his seat across from the Sixers’ bench in their opening game against the New Jersey Nets last night in the Pro Summer League at the RDV Sportsplex. And Turner was frustrated by failing to display the smoothness that marked his game while he landed college player of the year honors at Ohio State. Still, he was generally elated that he was a part of the 84-74 win.

“Anxious,” was the word Collins used to describe Turner’s play. “I think he was a little nervous, which I think is to be expected. To me, the guys I always see struggling in the summer league are the lottery picks because they haven’t done anything for about 90 days, contactwise. Their representatives have said whatever you do, don’t get hurt. I bet Evan hasn’t played in a five-on-five game since they lost at Ohio State.”

It’s all been a crash course for Turner, probably the likes of which he never encountered in college, especially not on the basketball court.

The team the Sixers have entered in the summer league, which includes Jrue Holiday, a slimmed-down Marreese Speights and shooting guard Jodie Meeks, has been in Florida since late last week, and Collins has worked the players hard. Following yesterday morning’s shootaround at the RDV Sportsplex, Turner playfully sighed after another demanding session with Collins.

“I’m all right, I’m doing all right,” Turner insisted. “But these practices are starting to kill me a little bit. I’m definitely looking forward to playing in a game and see how I match up against this type of competition.”

It turned out to be a bit of a struggle. He didn’t score the way he’s accustomed to, though he did finish with 12 points. His rustiness showed on the defensive end as he picked up four fouls in the first half, during which he played close to 15 minutes, almost all of them paired with Holiday.

Turner collected eight rebounds and four assists and turned the ball over only twice.

“I really haven’t played five-on-five ball for a long time, so I was trying to get acclimated to playing off the ball,” he said. “I think as the game wore on, I think I did pretty well. I’m just happy my team won. I think I played decent defense and I think I hit the boards.”

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