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A near-unanimous pick for Big Ten player of the year after leading the league in scoring, rebounding and finishing second in assists, he guided Ohio State to wins in 16 of its final 18 games heading into the NCAA tournament.
The conference tournament provided his signature moment. He took an inbounds pass, dribbled to just past midcourt and hit a 37-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat archrival Michigan 69-68 in the quarterfinals. Two days later, he had 31 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the Buckeyes beat Minnesota to win the tournament.
The Associated Press Player of the Year this season said it wasn't up to him how he would be remembered.
"The people who guard (you), they pretty much build your legacy," he said. "You don't build your own legacy. We'll see in 10 or 15 years."
Not even the top player on his high school team (Illinois' Demetri McCamey was considered more of a blue-chipper), Turner set a record by being chosen Big Ten player of the week 10 times during his career, including an unprecedented seven times this season.
Turner foundered early in his college career, unsure of what his role was in Matta's offense. But he sure came around.
Ohio State honors national players of the year by putting their numbers on a banner hanging from the ceiling of Value City Arena. Turner, the Naismith Award winner, will join such luminaries as Jerry Lucas, John Havlicek, Gary Bradds and Jim Jackson in that honor.
Because he declared for the NBA draft before an April 12 deadline, his departure will not lead to Ohio State receiving an Academic Progress Rate penalty. The basketball program was penalized after the late withdrawals of Greg Oden (2007) and Kosta Koufos (2008).
The third pick in June's draft is guaranteed more than $7 million for the first two years of his contract, the second pick nearly $8 million and the top pick almost $9 million.
Ohio State has a strong recruiting class, led by the Naismith Award winner at the high school level, 6-9 Jared Sullinger of Columbus' Northland High School.
"I had great times here, but I leave the program in great hands," Turner said. "Obviously we have a lot of great players coming in and a lot of great players right now. We're going to stay on top."
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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