Rahshon Turner, an FDU Knight from 1994 to 1998, led the FDU Knights men’s basketball team to the Northeast Conference (NEC) Tournament title and a berth in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournament in 1998.
Turner’s college career began with a bang as he was named Newcomer of the Year in the NEC. He made the NEC First Team in 1997 and 1998. And, in his last college season, he averaged 17.9 points and 10.6 rebounds per game when FDU won its third league title and nearly upset the University of Connecticut Huskies (UConn) in the first round of March Madness.
He then tried to continue his career as a professional in Europe, but failed to latch on with teams in Holland and France that first year out of school. “The first year I had a real bad experience,” says Turner, who was cut by a team in France without getting much of a look.
Turner returned to New Jersey and became an assistant women’s basketball coach at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. After less than two years in the United States, he decided to give pro ball another shot across the Atlantic. This time things were better. Turner, a power forward, played one season in Spain, and with the 2006–’07 season, he is in his sixth straight season playing professional ball in France. He is with his third French team: Gravelines, a small town on the northern coast.
“I have to
confess I never
thought I would
go to some
The FDU alumnus has seen most of the major tourist sites in France, and his passport has the stamp of many other European countries. “I have to confess I never thought I would go to some countries, like Latvia and Hungary,” Turner, who turns 32 in March, said in an interview from his apartment in France earlier this season.
“Playing over here, like I tell everyone, you live a good life,” he adds. “But it is not for everybody. You have to adjust to different cultures.” And, players from the States also have to adjust their games.
There are rules in France and in many European leagues that vary from guidelines in NCAA conferences such as the NEC and in the NBA as well. Most European countries play one league game per weekend, and top teams will play Euroleague games — against teams outside of their country — once a week on a weeknight. In France, the game consists of four 10-minute quarters; NCAA games are two halves of 20 minutes, while NBA games are four 12-minute quarters.
And, in Europe, a player has to clearly put the ball on the floor before he picks up his pivot foot, or the referee will call walking. That rule is usually the toughest one for Americans, and Turner said that was the case for him.
Regardless, Michael Hart, Turner’s New Jersey-based agent, says that his client has had the best pro career of any player out of FDU in the past 15 years. Turner averaged 15.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in 28 French League games in 2005–’06, and was named the top forward in the league by www.eurobasket.com. He has won several honors during his European career and was averaging 10.6 points per game and 5.0 rebounds per game as of January 11, 2007.
Turner, a regular in the French all-star games, is one of several former FDU hoopsters who signed for the 2006–’07 European season. Others include Andrea Crosariol (Italy), who played for the Knights from 2004 to 2006; Davor Filipovic (Croatia), FDU Knight, 2003–’04; Jonas Sinding (Denmark), a Knight from 1997 to 1999; Chad Timberlake (Czech Republic), who played from 2002 to 2006; and Wim and Tom Van de Keere (Belgium), Knights from 1998 to 2000.
In addition, Elijah Allen, AA’95 (T), BA’98 (T), who averaged 16.7 points per game for FDU in 1997–’98, spent his first year out of FDU playing for Gravelines. Tamien Trent, a team member from 2003 to 2005, played in Germany during the 2005–’06 season and LaMarque Ward, a Knight from 1999 to 2001, played the following season in Latvia.