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Leaving a Mark: Turner Put His Stamp on Spain Park’s Boys Basketball Program
By Rubin E. Grant
When Colin Turner looks back on his high school basketball career at Spain Park, he focuses on how much he developed as a player.
“I’ve been reflecting on it quite a bit,” Turner said. “I think about how great this season was, and I think about last season and how much I’ve grown as a player and with this team.”
This season, the 6-foot-9 senior forward was dominant on the court, averaging 16.6 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, helping the Jaguars reach the Class 7A Final Four for the second consecutive year and post a 27-8 record.
He had a strong showing in the Jags’ 73-58 semifinal loss to Enterprise, scoring 17 points on 8 of 12 shooting from the field, pulling down nine rebounds and blocking six shots.
For his performance, Turner was voted the 2022 Over The Mountain Boys Basketball Player of the Year in balloting of Over the Mountain coaches.
“I am excited to have such an honor,” Turner said. “It’s great to be able to add that onto a great season.”
Spain Park’s Chris Laatsch was voted the 2022 OTM Coach of the Year, giving the Jags a sweep of the awards.
Spain Park senior guard Josh Harrington joined Turner on the All-OTM team. Vestavia Hills, Mountain Brook, Oak Mountain, Homewood and Hoover also eached placed two players on the squad.
Junior guard Win Miller and senior guard Reese Gurner were selected from Vestavia Hills; sophomore guard Ty Davis and junior guard Kyle Layton from Mountain Brook; senior guards Wilder Evers and Brady Dunn from Oak Mountain, senior forwards Christian Thompson and Donte Bacchus from Homewood; and freshman guard Salim London and senior forward Brodin Grady from Hoover.
Rounding out the team are Briarwood junior forward Miles Gilbert and Indian Springs senior guard Carson Huff.
Laatsch raves about Turner as a player and teammate.
“He’s a great young man, first and foremost,” Laatsch said. “He definitely left his mark on this program, and he will be remembered for a long time.
“His size, character, work ethic and coachability are what made him special. He always put the team first and loved his teammates and was so happy when his teammates would have success.”
Turner played 17 minutes in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game on March 12 in Clinton, Misskissippi. He scored four points, grabbed nine rebounds and made two steals as Alabama won 96-89.
“That was really fun,” Turner said. “I really enjoyed being able to play with so much talent. I had played against some of them, so it felt good to be in an All-Star game with them and represent the state, too.”
Since the season ended, Turner has started getting ready for the next level. He is headed to North Georgia.
“I am working out,” Turner said. “I don’t have many classes to take, plus I have a job at Bruster’s Ice Cream.”
Turner said he’s going to miss playing for Spain Park, especially the fan support.
“I will really miss the community that we have around us,” he said. “It’s unmatched compared to a lot of places. The teachers, administrators and students are so supportive and encouraging. Having younger kids coming up to you has really been fun to be a part of, too.”
Coach of the Year
Although Turner will be gone, Laatsch plans to return for his fifth season at the helm of the Jags. The past three seasons, he has guided the Jags to 74 victories, made three trips to the Elite 8 and two appearances in the Final 4.
“Whenever you have success, it’s because you have great players and great buy-in from them in what you’re doing and great coaches around you,” Laatsch said. “This is too big for one guy, and my assistants were tremendous during practices and breaking down film.
“I look at as a ‘we’ and not a ‘me.’ We also have great support from our administrators, families and fans. So it’s a collective thing.”
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