SATCHEL Turpin’s path to landing a college basketball scholarship at Faulkner University began with him suddenly being called out of class late this past school year.
Unbeknownst to the Jefferson High School standout, a coach from Faulkner had arrived on campus to see him. That led to an impromptu shooting session in Jefferson’s gym and, later, a visit to the school’s Montgomery, Ala. campus.
Turpin is now officially a Faulkner Eagle.
“It all just kind of came together so smoothly and unexpectedly,” said Turpin, who had also talked with Emmanuel College. “I didn’t expect it. It was exciting.”
Turpin, who held a signing ceremony Tuesday, plans to red-shirt at the NAIA school this season. Faulkner coaches want Turpin to play shooting guard.
“It will be my natural position to play,” Turpin said. “I’m so excited to play. I can’t wait.”
One of the Dragons’ top scorers the past two years, Turpin helped lead Jefferson to a 26-6 record this past season and a trip to the Class AA Elite Eight. Turpin was also part of two region championship squads as a Dragon.
Jefferson coach Bolling DuBose said the 6’4” Turpin made great strides — especially physically — during his four years at Jefferson. He humorously remembered the player’s middle school days.
“I’ve still got a picture in my room of the middle school team when Satchel was about as wide as he was tall and he had chubby cheeks,” DuBose told those on hand at Turpin’s signing ceremony. “If you looked at that picture and thought, ‘here’s a college basketball player,’
you’d be laughing.”
The veteran coach praised Turpin’s work ethic.
“He has worked as hard as anybody we’ve had in recent years to not only become a better basketball player, but to get bigger and stronger and prepare himself physically for the college game,” DuBose said. “I think he’s ready.”
Turpin now goes to a Faulkner program led by Jim Sanderson who has served as the Eagles’ head coach for 24 years. Faulkner, which plays in the Southern States Athletic Conference, went 17-14 this past year after a 29-win season in 2012-2013.
“They’re always in contention in the NAIA national tournament,” DuBose said. “He (Sanderson) expects a lot out of his players.”
Turpin said he likes the size of Faulkner’s 3,500-student campus, located three hours away from Jefferson.
“The visit went great,” he said. “I liked the whole school. It’s not a big school. It’s not bad at all. I like small schools like that. Montgomery itself is really a nice little town. It’s going to be fun to be over there.”
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