Ball State's Turner tapped as MAC's top freshman in men's hoops
Ball State point guard Zavier Turner was announced Tuesday as the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year in a vote of the league's media members.
Turner, who was named to the MAC All-Freshman Team a day earlier, played a more prominent role than any rookie in the league. The product of Pike High School in Indianapolis was the Cardinals' starter at point guard from day one.
Turner's 12.1 points and 3.7 assists per game led all MAC freshmen, as did his 3-point percentage (.409), free throw percentage (.880) and minutes-per-game average (32.7). He ranks in the top 10 among all players in the league in each of those categories except scoring, where he can be found in the top 20.
"I am proud of Zavier for this well-deserved honor," Ball State head coach James Whitford said. "We put a tremendous amount of responsibility on his shoulders as just a freshman, and he handled it great. He ran our team, led us in assists and was one of our top scorers. He had a very good first year, and he has a bright future ahead of him."
Turner scored in double figures for the 20th time in Ball State's season-ending loss Monday at Ohio in the first round of the MAC Tournament. He finished the season with 362 points to rank fourth on the Cardinals' all-time freshman scoring list behind only Bonzi Wells, Ray McCallum and Theron Smith.
He joins that trio along with Maurice Acker and Jarrod Jones as Ball State players to win the MAC's top award for freshmen. Jones was the most recent in 2009.
Turner was one of the top outside shooters in the MAC all season, knocking down better than 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc all year long. His 61 3-pointers are the most ever for a Ball State freshman.
He finished the season with 110 assists, handing out at least five in six of Ball State's final nine games, including a seven-assist performance Monday at Ohio. He dished out a career-high eight helpers in the Cardinals' February home game with Eastern Michigan.
Turner was one of three MAC players to win awards Tuesday. Eastern Michigan's Da'Shonte Riley was named the league's defensive player of the year, while Akron's Jake Kretzer was tabbed the sixth man of the year.