Flint Star: The Greatest Player From Flint You’ve Never Heard Of

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.

About the Author

Ryan McNeill Ryan McNeill has appeared on ESPN Radio, MTV Canada, SiriusXM, The Fan 590 and other radio programs and TV shows. He has covered the NBA with media credentials since the 2007-08 season.

Comments (20)

  1. shi shi

    yes it is so true but i know i saw et do some things only done by magic et was the best pointguard to come out of flint i luv his god gift talent

  2. Raymond Lewis (Ray-Lew) was said to be the greatest player never to play in the NBA ! Best Shooter EVER ! 35-foot layups ! Philadelphia 76ers No. 1 draft choice (1973). Up there with Big “O” and Jerry West. Best player Jerry Tarkanian ever saw !

  3. Darcy Donavan and I saw Raymond Lewis outscore William “Bird” Averitt former Pepperdine/Kentucky Colonel great in a 1973 tournament game while both of them were 1-2 leading the nation in scoring !!!! Scored 49 points while a high school senior in a summer league game against L.A. Laker team including players such as Jerry Chambers, former Utah great and Jim McMillian of Laker Championship team !!! Machine gun dribble with the ball. Great passer too ! Could penetrate at will ! Scored 56 points against Michael Cooper in a half !!

  4. Seth Ferranti (basketball columnist for hoops hype) raved about L.A.’s ultimate player Raymond Lewis in a 2006 article.

  5. Only player comparable now who can handle the ball like Raymond Lewis is former Los Angeles All-City player, UNLV, and European Pro Jay “Boogie” Brantley. Former Harlem Globetrotter great Marques Haynes said JBoogie can really handle the ROCK ! See Dan the Man, JBoogie, and Marques Haynes in Sunset Pictures and Martin Guigui’s Basketball drama SWEETWATER (2008) about Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton who helped break the NBA color line.

  6. Raymond Lewis placed 2nd in NCAA scoring average to William “Bird” Averitt former Kentucky Colonel great who also played with the Buffalo Braves.

  7. Read what Tark the Shark said about Raymond Lewis:
    Tarkainan says about Lewis, “He was phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. I followed him throughout high school. He had more God-given talent than anybody. “You can take the five best defensive players in the NBA and they couldn’t stop this kid”.

    ” Raymond would play all our players one-on-one and kill “em, and half of them were All Americans.” he said. “He was as fast as Allen Iverson, only taller, bigger and stronger, I kid you not, he could handle the ball like you couldn’t believe, just make the ball disappear.”

    I never saw anyone guard him one-on-one. I never saw anyone contain him. I never saw anyone stop his dribble penetration. In a college game once, he scored 73 points. I was memorized by his ability and I just couldn’t believe it.” In his novel 2005 novel Runnin’ Rebel Tark proclaimed Raymond Lewis as “The Greatest Player I Ever Saw.”

  8. m

    i watched ET many times, best player i ever saw, BY A MILE, and i seen it all.

  9. Bill

    Nice ariticle… but needed to note a few errors:

    1. Eric was a 4th team all-america in 1981
    2. Eric was not a freshman all-america at UM. He got that honor in 1983.
    3. His senior year at Central High he averaged 20.9 pts and 8.9 assists

    Best player from Flint par none.

    Good article.

  10. Its. Allgood

    I used to live next to ET in Flint, Mich. I loved to see him play BBAll on his goal in the driveway. One day i saw him play five guys and beat them all.

  11. Steven Vela

    I want to share with the world some of what I seen of Eric Turner. In 1981 he was “magic” and Keith Gray was “Special K” they started many games with a jump-ball tipped to E.T. from Marty Embry at half court, Eric through the ball towards the rim and keith would slam the greatest form of the ally-op play I have ever seen. Another time with five seconds lift before half-time Eric received the ball eighty feet from they hoop he looked at the clock stared at the basket and through the ball like a quarterback and made it with nothing bet net. people were so amazed at what they saw it felt surreal, no sound was made for around 10 seconds we were so amazed, then a big roar came up from the earth from everyone cheering and claping on what they just saw. even the other teams fans were clapping. Ask the great coaching ledgend John Wooden about Eric Turner. he coached him in a mcdonald all american game. Called him a pocket magic.

  12. Eric was not only a great player but also a great guy. His basketball skills were and on a good day still has finesse. You would have had to see it to beleive it!

  13. Aubrey R. Dawson

    Eric Turner was absolutely awesome. I matriculated through high school, as well as Michigan with him. He was and still is a STAR! May God bless him tremendously in this journey of his life. Aubrey Dawson

  14. Tony

    ET was the most talented and exciting player to play ball in Michigan. I grew up in Pontiac and every Wednesday and Saturday, I would rush to get a newspaper to see how badly Flint Central had defeated it’s opponent. I also remember ET having the finest women in Flint and if you know Flint, they had the finest black women in the world!! And still do I hear

  15. Tony

    One final story. I played college basketball in Hawaii where one of the assistant coaches overheard me telling stories about ET. He said, “Eric Turner”, Yep, ET, the very best. He said you won’t believe this but I played basketball with ET overseas. I guess ET game had deteriorated over the years. He could not believe the stories I was telling. We talked for HOURS about ET. Drugs evidently overtook him. Sad story. I actually thought he had more talent than Sam Vincent who was voted Mrichigan’s First Mr. Basketball. Obvious politics. ET was the Man

  16. Mr.James Watkins

    I was comunity school dir.when Eric was in the fourth grade,hands down ET was the best basketball player i had ever seen.Eric was well mannered young man.If i saw him now ,all he would do is smile and say,how you doing mr. Watkins.I have a grandson that is atheletic.I tell him he could never beat the boys from flint.He is really good but i never let him know how good he is.

  17. mac

    I went to central with ET anad played football with him. One of the most gifted athletes i ever seen. He played QB for us we won valley and city championship. he also started at free Safety. He could have easily been an all american WR and he didn’t even like football. ET also played baseball. He once came to track team practice and beat are best hurdler and he had ran hurdles for lie 4 years.His baseball talents where amazing. He and Mark Harris formed a backcourt that was so ridiculous it was not even far

  18. Mark R.

    In 1981, I played on the Junior Varsity team for Pontiac Central High School. We traveled along with the varsity team to Flint to play ET, Marty Embry and team. Unfortunitly, we got our behinds kicked. This Flint team was the best all around high school team that I had ever seen play the game. Some amazing talent!! ET was definitly one of best players to come out of Flint.

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