New import Ray Turner eager to get to work with Bendigo Braves


WHEREVER Ray Turner has gone, team success has generally followed.

It’s a trend the 28-year-old American hopes continues in his newest basketball role as a Bendigo Braves import.

Turner touched down in Bendigo on Wednesday, fresh from a break following a long season with Willeton Tigers in the Western Australian State Basketball League (SBL).

The 206cm power forward said he was keen to get work on earning the respect of his new team-mates.

“I signed pretty early (December), so it’s good to finally be here and with the team,” Turner said.

“I am really looking forward to the first training tonight (Thursday).”

Turner brings a wealth of playing experience having played professionally in Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Hungary, Japan and Uruguay.

His first stint in Australia in 2014 ended with a Queensland Basketball League championship with Rockhampton Rockets, where he averaged 20.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.4 blocks per game.

He returned in 2015 to play with Perth Redbacks in the SBL, his season culminating with league MVP honours.

In 26 games, he averaged a league-leading 31.2 points, 16.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.8 blocks per game.

Stints in New Zealand and Japan were followed by a second season in Rockhampton in 2016, with Turner averaging 22.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.7 blocks through 11 games.

His stats for equally imposing for Willeton, averaging 25.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game for a Tigers side which was eliminated in the semi-finals by eventual champions Perth.

Turner, a Houston native who played four years of college basketball with Texas A&M, felt he and the Braves would prove a good fit for one another.

“I researched the club, everything you see and hear is good,” he said.

“It seems like there has always been stability here and that is one of the keys things in this business when you are travelling internationally, you want stability.

“I felt Bendigo had that for me and obviously with the coach and the offence Ben (Harvey) is putting together, it looked like a good fit.”

Having played four seasons already in Australia, Turner – whose wife is Australian – affectionately refers to the country as his second home.

He also has plenty of good things to say about his time in Japan with the Northern Akita Happinets in 2015-16.

“It was a long season – you play almost as many games as the NBA league,” he said.

“There’s 62 games in the regular season, not including playoffs, and it was just a great feel.”

Turner will have an early chance to impress with the Braves set to play a practice match against Dandenong Rangers at 1pm on Sunday at Bendigo Stadium.