Following Tennessee’s 75-53 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday, Lamonte Turner sat down to talk with reporters postgame, but what he had to say shocked and saddened all of Vol Nation.
“To be honest, y’all, I didn’t really come here to answer questions about the team today, I played my last game tonight as a Vol — in a Vol uniform. A lot of people know I have been battling an injury.
Turner had this to say about his time on Ricky Top,
“I get emotional thinking about it and I get emotional talking about it, I appreciate everything that everyone has done for me — the love, the support that I have here. It is my teammates always being with me. This year’s team, last year’s team all knowing what I was going through. The coaches have been behind me in times when we didn’t know what was going on or what I was dealing with.”
It’s no secret that it had been a down year for Turner, and there had been speculation that his shoulder injury was interfering with his shot, as he was shooting a career-low 31 percent from the field and 23.4 percent from three.
The diagnosis for Turner is thoracic outlet syndrome, which is the same injury sustained by former NBA no. 1 pick, Markelle Fultz. The injury threatened to end Fultz playing career, although for Turner, it’s his non-shooting shoulder, he and his family understood the severity of this and opted to get season ending surgery.
“It is a tough decision for me to make, but I have to do it for my health. If I don’t, it could worse and stuff like that,” Turner said.
Currently averaging 12.3 points and SEC leading 7.1 assists, Turner finishes his career as a the 52nd Volunteer to reach the 1,000 point mark, and one of the most clutch shooters in program history. We were treated to one final Lamonte Turner buzzer-beater this season, as he hit the game winning three against VCU in the Emerald Coast Classic on Nov. 30th. You can’t think of Lamonte Turner without instantly having flashbacks of the two huge threes he hit against Kentucky the last two seasons, one in the SEC tourney, and the other at Rupp Arena.
Turner also joins and exclusive group of five Volunteers to total 1,000 career points, 300 career assists and 300 career rebounds, joining the likes of former Vol great CJ Watson.
Rick Barnes had this to say about his Senior leader,
“He gave everything he had for four and a half years, he earned his degree and he played a key role in establishing the culture of our program. We all love Lamonte and are saddened that he is unable to continue playing at this time. We’ll continue to support him as he takes his next steps.”
The Volunteers must now shift their focus to Saturday, as the 6-5 Wisconsin Badgers come to Knoxville.
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