A lot of basketball fans are familiar with names like Morris Peterson, Mateen Cleaves, Charlie Bell, Eddie Robinson, Glen Rice and Latrell Sprewell, but there are lots of amazing basketball players from Flint that basketball fans haven’t heard of.
As most hoop fans know, basketball is full of stories about great playground players or high school prodigies who weren’t able to escape the clutches of the streets to play pro basketball. Sadly, Flint has it’s fair share of these stories as well.
One of those players is Eric Turner.
According to a Flint Summer Pro Am coach, “Eric Turner was something to see. He could pass the ball. Shoot the ball. Handle the ball. He could do just about anything. He was a first team All-American in high school and he started at Michigan his freshman year. Matter of fact, he was a freshman All-American. Drugs caught him. He could have been playing pro. He came out early out of college after his sophomore year. Matter of fact, Roy Tarpley is the one that got him off. Tarpely is over there sniffing saying come on ET.”
Another coach that loved the way that Turner played that game was John Hogan. Hogan told Davenport that “the best point guard, they called him ET because ET would look one way and dish the other way. ET was the man! We look at Mateen Cleaves, but ET was there first. ET was the best point guard to come out of Flint. He could shoot the jumper. He could pass left and look right. He could go through the legs. He was like another Magic Johnson.”
Another coach that sang the praises of Turner was Michigan coaching legend Stan Gooch. During the documentary Gooch told Davenport that, “Eric Turner, in my mind was the best player to come out of Flint, in high school. He didn’t finish at Michigan so Glen Rice is probably the best that went on after that. As a high school player he was worth, between assists and points, over 50 points per game. He averaged almost 25 points a game and 14 to 15 assists a game. He was awfully good. That ball club in ‘51 had him on it and Mark Harris who scored 44 points in the finals.”
It’s a shame that so many great players like Earl “Goat” Manigault, Eric Turner and Raymond Lewis didn’t make it to the NBA.