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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Timing of Josiah Turner’s latest suspension is awful for Arizona

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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The worst part of Josiah Turner's one-game suspension for Arizona is the freshman point guard's timing could not have been worse.

Turner will not play Wednesday night at Florida when the Wildcats take aim at what would be their first noteworthy non-league victory of the season. Worse yet, Turner's absence comes at a time when he was just starting to tap into his potential enough for Arizona coach Sean Miller to consider inserting him into the starting lineup again.

The official reason for Turner's suspension is "a violation of team policy," but Arizona-themed site PointGuardU.com reported Tuesday that the Sacramento native missed Monday's practice. Miller previously removed Turner from the starting lineup Nov. 9 against Duquesne because he had been late to a pregame shootaround.

"We will meet with him when we return to campus to discuss what his obligations to this program are moving forward," Miller said in a statement released Tuesday night.

These recurring issues are ominous signs that Turner's lack of maturity may be a season-long issue for Arizona. The five-star prospect also sat out Arizona's Nov. 13 victory over Ball State because Miller said he was still making adjustments to college basketball.

"No coach is worth his salt if you're not playing the players that are really practicing hard and doing what they're supposed to," Miller told the Arizona Daily Star at the time. "It's very difficult to build a program and try to do the things that we hope to do when that's not in place.

"It's not like he's a bad kid - he's a great kid. But he's just trying to find his way from where he left high school as a true freshman to the adjustment of being in college, on and off the court."

In recent days, however, there had been a notable uptick in Turner's productivity. He scored in double figures against both San Diego State and New Mexico State and has not committed any turnovers in three of his past four games.

Sophomore Jordin Mayes and fellow freshman Nick Johnson will likely absorb Turner's playing time against the guard-heavy Gators, but the Wildcats need Turner to develop if they're going to contend in the Pac-12 and return to the NCAA tournament. If this suspension turns out to finally be the wake-up call Turner needs to grow up a little bit, it will be remembered as a blessing in disguise.

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