College - Mississippi
Elston Turner joins the Suns for his first season in 2011-12 after accumulating 14 years experience as an NBA assistant coach with the Houston Rockets (2007-11), Sacramento Kings (2000-06) and Portland Trail Blazers (1996-00). No stranger to coaching defense on an offensive-minded club, the 52-year-old Turner has been tabbed by Alvin Gentry to serve as the clubís primary defensive coach after spending the last six seasons as the lead assistant under noted offensive coach Rick Adelman, the last four of which came with the Rockets. While working under Adelman, Turner was a part of two Western Conference All-Star coaching staffs (2001, 2003).
During Turnerís tenure with Houston, the Rockets surrendered an average opponent field goal mark of 45.5 percent overall (12,345-27,118), well below the league average. During Turnerís first two seasons in Houston, when the Rockets had a healthy Yao Ming, the club surrendered just 43.8 percent shooting to opponents (5,843-13,329) and were ranked in the top-five in the NBA both seasons. Turnerís 2007-08 Rockets owned the second-best mark in the league overall (.433). A native of Knoxville, Tenn., Turner will be charged with aiding in the improvement of a Phoenix defense that ranked 11th in the NBA in defensive field goal percentage in 2009-10 (.452), but fell to 25th in the league in 2010-11 (.472).
Turnerís career coaching responsibilities have included handling the teamís game plan, individual skill work with players, advance scouting, and serving as head coach of the Rocketsí Summer League squad. He joined the Kingsí staff after spending four years in a similar capacity with the Portland Trail Blazers. His coaching career began in the CBA as an assistant coach for the Quad City Thunder and as a player/coach with the Chicago Rockers.
The 6-foot-5 Turner played eight NBA seasons with the Dallas Mavericks (1981-84), Denver Nuggets (1984-86, 1988-89) and Chicago Bulls (1986-88), developing a reputation as a tenacious defender. Turner averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 505 career NBA games. He also played parts of five seasons in the CBA and three years in Europe following his NBA career.
The Mavericksí 43rd overall selection (second round) of the 1981 NBA Draft, Turner entered the NBA after a stellar senior season at Ole Miss in which he led the school to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1980-81. The university honored Turnerís many collegiate accomplishments in 2000 when he was inducted into the Ole Miss M-Club Athletic Hall of Fame.
Turner and his wife, Louise, have two children: son, Elston, Jr., and daughter, Taylor. Elston, Jr., sat out the 2010-11 NCAA season after transferring to Texas A&M from the University of Washington and will resume play this fall.