Coming of age

Evan Turner is finding his way in Philadelphia

Originally Published: March 22, 2012
By Jordan Brenner | ESPN The Magazine

TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD, Evan Turner had no business wearing that smile.

Late last season, the rookie wing who had been the No. 2 overall pick was putting up goose eggs as often as his double-figure efforts (three) over the 76ers' final 15 games. Yet sometimes he'd walk around after a shootaround with a knowing grin, uttering lines to coach Doug Collins like, "I'm your man next year." Collins' response? "I know you are."

Having worked with young players from Michael Jordan to Grant Hill to Allan Houston, Collins knew greatness when he saw it. He just didn't think Turner was ready. And neither, frankly, did Turner, who had spent his career at Ohio State with the ball in his hands and now had to play off his teammates. "I was coming into the best league in the world, playing off the ball and doing things I'd never done before," Turner says. "That was rough."