Jeffrey Turner hopes a couple of years at junior college will do for his basketball career what it did for Derek Shouse.
The pair of former Terre Haute South standouts will be moving on to new homes this winter as Turner will be heading to Western Texas College and Shouse will be advancing to Division II Missouri-St. Louis following a standout career at Danville Area Community College.
Turner finished his South career as one of the leading scorers in school history, racking up more than 1,300 points in a four-year career to rank in the top handful of all-time Braves. Last season, he averaged 24 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals per game.
One of the most intriguing players in South history, Turner transitioned from being a post player at the middle school level to a clutch 3-point shooter who opponents never wanted to have the ball at the end of a game.
“I feel like I will be used as a spot up shooter and slasher,” the 6-foot-3 Turner said. “I will be playing the wing majority of the time but at times the 2 guard.
“I chose Western Texas because the coaching staff was great, they play in the best JUCO conference in the nation [Western Junior College Athletic Conference] and I thought it would be a great way to better myself on and off the court.”
Western Texas College, located in Snyder, Texas, is a two-time national JUCO champion from the 1980s. Among its many prestigious alumni is former University of Tulsa and NBA standout Paul Pressey.
Turner has lost some weight since last winter in order to improve his quickness, and will find himself in the fiercest competition of his life for playing time.
“My goals this season are to help the team as much as possible in any way I can,” he said. “I will do my best to represent Indiana and my city.”
South coach Scott Ridge will miss having Turner on his squad, and feels he is quite capable of having success at the next level.
“Jeffrey was a great player for us at South, and he has a very special and unique skill set,” Ridge said. “He has the ability to be very successful at the next level. We are pleased that he has the opportunity to further his education and continue his basketball career.”
Shouse, a 6-foot-2 guard who played just his senior year at South after transferring from Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast, went to Danville as a relatively unheralded walk-on. He quickly wound up with a scholarship and parlayed that opportunity into a career that twice included All-Region honors.
He is also looking forward to the opportunity to continue his career and education.
“I chose the University of Missouri-St. Louis because they just got a new coach [Bob Sundvold, from Central Missouri State] and they are trying to rebuild a better program,” he said. “Playing in one of the toughest D2 conferences in the nation [Great Lakes Valley Conference] seemed like a great opportunity to compete against some great competition. I want to be a part of bringing the program back.”
Shouse averaged 13.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.1 steals as a sophomore at DACC, earning First Team Mid-West Athletic Conference honors and also being an All-American nominee.
“I feel I will be utilized as a guard who can come in the game and hit shots,” he said. “Coming off a very successful career at DACC, I know how to win and win as a team.
“Hopefully I can help carry that along to my new teammates.”
Shouse departed DACC ranking second all-time in 3-pointers made. As a freshman, he was named Mid-West Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
Coach Mike Carpenter, who left DACC after last season for Wabash Valley College, foresees Shouse’s success to continue.
“We’re very excited about Derek’s decision to attend the University of Missouri-St. Louis,” Carpenter said. “Derek was a major reason for our success the last two seasons at Danville.”
That success included two conference titles, a region championship, an Elite 8 appearance in the National Tournament, and a school record 28 wins last season.
“Derek’s work ethic and ability to be a good teammate is the biggest reason for this opportunity,” Carpenter added. “We expect him to have a great career at UMSL.”
Shouse’s father, Daniel, once scored 100 points in a college game at Peru State, and Derek is a member of the next wave of progeny from one of the most legendary athletic families in Terre Haute history.
Included in that wave is his cousin, Dexter Shouse Jr., who is a seventh-grader at Woodrow Wilson Middle School and is ranked nationally as the top player in his grade. He dunked at the AAU National tourney in Virginia over the summer.
Derek is used to having to work hard to make an impression on a new coach, and knows it will not be any easier the farther he moves up the athletic ladder.
“Coming to the University of Missouri-St. Louis, I have goals such as winning the GLVC conference and making it to the NCAA DII national tournament,” he said. “I know I’ll have to work harder than ever, but I hope to have another two successful years as I did in junior college.”
Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.