Mar 28, 2019


After his team was soundly beaten in the NCAA tournament by Oregon last Sunday, UC-Irvine head basketball coach Russell Turner volunteered to the media a strategy he employed on the sidelines during the lopsided 19-point loss that had just ended UCI’s season.

When asked by a reporter, “you were talking closely with (Oregon player) Louis King. You talked with him for a little bit. (After the game.) Can you share what you were talking to him about?

Turner, whose resume includes significant stints as an assistant at Wake Forest, Stanford and the Golden State Warriors along with nine seasons at UCI, had this to say in response.

“(Laughing) Yeah, I’ll tell ya. I was saying, ‘double-team Queen,’ to try and see if I could irritate him and I did.

“… We were calling him ‘queen’ because I knew it might irritate him, because of how important he is to their team (like the) queen in chess.

“It was a play on his name King and it bothered him. (He) started thinking about me, started thinking about (UC-Irvine player) Max (Hazzard).

“But he (King) came back and finished the game really strong and he’d had a thing or two to say to me during the game and I wanted to let him know (after the game) what I’d done was out of respect.

“In the first half they were right in front of us, I have a voice I can make the offensive team hear me, so I utilized my voice the best I can to help my team.”

Less than 24 hours later, the smug, braggadocio was gone, with Turner having already issued an overlong, non-apology out of fear for his future job prospects.

Prospects that, according to media reports this week aren’t poor. Or fair. Or good. 

Try outstanding.

This morning Gary Parrish reported on Twitter

UC Irvine’s Russell Turner has emerged as a candidate at Vanderbilt and discussed the job with school officials, a source told @CBSSports. UCF’s Johnny Dawkins remains a candidate. He’s expected to talk with Vanderbilt officials soon, the source added.

Meanwhile speculation that Turner is in line for the Cal job is rampant.

Looks to us like any concern a Vanderbilt and/or Cal official may have had about the fallout of a Russell Turner hire has effectively been swept away by a media that has apparently completely signed off on a world in which words have no meaning.

Remember that the next time you hear a media member’s inevitable, fallback lament about how unethical the coaching profession has become.