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Turner ends basketball career on high note

Senior Mikah Turner has come to be one of the best athletes to set foot on Berea College’s grounds. Although recognized for numerable basketball accomplishments, Turner is also successful in other areas.

Mikah Turner

The small forward from Maysville, Kentucky was referred to Berea College by his high school basketball coach. Chris O'Hearn, a former NAIA basketball participant, assured Turner that Berea would be a good fit for him.

Turner visited Berea and participated in a workout session with the team. Coach Mills, impressed by Turner’s stylish play, opened the gates for him to mark his territory on the men’s basketball team.

Standing at 6’3", Turner has given everyone room to believe that he is worthy of receiving honor for impressive achievements. However, don’t sell him short because Turner isn’t only recognized for his production on the hardwood, but he is successful in academic pursuits as well.

Most recently, Tuner was named the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Division II Player of the Week on February 16. He was honored for his performances from February 8 to 14 when, over a course of three games, he averaged 32 points and 9 rebounds. That should go as no surprise because he was recognized by the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletics Conference (KIAC) as this season’s four-time Division II Player of the Week, in which he was winner at the conference and national levels twice for his outstanding performances during his final season as captain of the Berea College men’s basketball team.

He was also named the NAIA Athletics Division II Men's Basketball Player of the Week on January 26 for his performances on January 18 to 24 when, during three games, he averaged over 30 points and 10 rebounds. In NAIA statistics, Turner is the first in the country in scoring 27.7 point per game.

Turner shares his thoughts on being the National Player of the Week:

“It’s crazy thinking about how my role has changed standing from where I first began playing basketball at the high school level until now. I never really saw myself as a scorer because I was more of a rebounder. I owe a large part to my teammates for giving me the confidence to score. I also owe Coach Mills for giving me the freedom to let us play on the court and not putting restrictions on us.”

Turner has made quite the adjustment from playing a different position in high school than in college. Once he made the transition to a higher institute of education, the same applied on the court.

“He was an interior player in high school, so I told him specific things he to needed to improve on before he got to campus because I was moving him to the perimeter,” says Coach Mills.

He already had a decent inside game before shifting to the exterior, but once Coach Mills called for a change, Turner became more of an offensive threat as he further enhanced his skills.

Turner’s achievements are a reflection of his hard work and mental and physical resilience, which are displayed by his attitude on the court.

“I got to do what’s possible to get wins. I try to do what’s best to win because I come from a winning background.”

True enough, he has continued to shine on and off the court. Yet, this high-scoring player remains down-to-earth.

“I try to stay pretty humble and not let it get to my head. It’s added confidence but not cockiness to my game. Naturally, I play with a chip on my shoulder.”

At the end of the season, Turner was recognized as one of the players on the NAIA Division II All-American third team, and finished the season as the nation’s third leading scorer.

Although he is a force to be reckoned with in uniform, it is Turner’s achievements in other areas that have made him a respected leader among his peers. He is an Industrial Technology Management major with a minor in Business Administration. On top of Berea’s demanding academics, Turner takes on approximately 15 hours a week of athletic training and a 15-hour job at Seabury Center. Having his work cut out for him, Turner manages to execute in all dimensions.

Reflecting on his journey at Berea, Turner expresses, “…this institution made me a better person, not only giving me the opportunity to be an athlete, but by being a student as well. They’ve worked with me on my path of becoming a successful young man and student.”

“I believe that is what makes Berea College such a special place,” he adds.

That is why Turner’s best moments in college don’t consist of specific high-scoring games where his stats were boosted, or commendations he received for his performance.

“My most memorable moments on and off the court are making friends with everyone on and off campus.... The individual accomplishments are great and whatnot, but none of it would have been possible had I not been encouraged by my coaches, teammates and family, most importantly.”

Turner was recognized on Senior Night for accumulating 2,000 points over the course of his basketball career at Berea College. By the end of the season, Turner had collected 2,085 points and 673 rebounds.

In addition to his achievements, Turner also makes a positive impact on the people around him, especially his teammates.

“Mikah was like a brother I never had. On and off the court he expected the best. He was ‘big brother,’” shares center Chase Wofford.

After graduation in December 2010, Turner plans to attend graduate school at Eastern Kentucky University to get his teacher and coaching certificate.

“It’s a lot to lose, but we’re going to use the toughness he gave us to be strong and make it,” Wofford said.

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