Knox Central rising senior Jevonte Turner is now a national champion. After competing in the 2020 NTBA National Championship in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina over the weekend, Turner and Team Assault were crowned national champions.
Turner led the Panthers to their second consecutive regional championship last season. He led the team in scoring with 22.2 points-per-game. He was also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 6.4 rebounds-per-game. He was also the 26th ranked player in the state by points-per-game.
With COVID-19 leaving sports in limbo, Turner was thankful for the extra opportunity to play the game he loves. “I love basketball,” he said. “I hope we get to have our season, but if we don’t, I’m just glad I got this opportunity to play meaningful basketball. I had a great time, and I earned a lot of valuable experience.”
Turner also saw the opportunity to garner extra exposure from potential college landing spots. “You never know who may be in that gym,” he said. “You never know who’s eyes are going to be on you at any given time. There could be scouts in there from all over the country. I just try to go out there and play my style of basketball. I work hard to be better every day and things like this tournament help me do that.”
Turner had some familiar faces with him in the tournament. Regional athletes Devon “Scooby” Morris of Pineville, Micah Engle and Gavin Allen, both from Corbin, also played for Team Assault. “It definitely helps chemistry and stuff like that when you have people you know with you in a place you’re not familiar with,” said Turner. “But we all play well together, even the guys we wouldn’t normally play with or against. We all played really well together and had a blast.”
Turner has extra motivation for this tournament -- his mother, Melissa. “My mom has been sick lately, and I told her I was going to win this for her,” he said. “Every time I played, she was on my mind, and it just made me go even harder. It paid off -- we won. We actually lost to the team that we played in the championship earlier in the tournament by about 15 points. When we saw them again in the championship game, I had that extra motivation on top of what I already had. We ended up beating them by about 15 or so, and it was great. I had a great time.”
Melissa believes that this is something that not only her son, but the whole team, will remember for the rest of their lives. “Words can’t express how proud I am of JeVonte and his team,” she said. “They went down there with a mission, and to be able to return with a National Championship is something they will all remember for the rest of their lives.”
“JeVonte’s love for the game and his determination to improve his craft are amazing,” she added. “He wants to not only improve on every aspect of his game but he wants to do everything he can to make everyone around him better.”