Elston Turner (born June 10, 1959 in Knoxville, Tennessee) was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the second round of the 1981 NBA draft. He went on to play three seasons for the Mavs.
Turner led Austin-East High School in Knoxville to a state title and garnered all-state honors his senior season. He went on to attend the University of Mississippi where he lettered all four seasons.
As a junior, he helped guide the Rebels to a 17-13 mark, the school's best record in 42 years. Ole Miss was also invited to the NIT tournament where they garnered their first-ever post-season tournament victory in the tournament's opening round over Grambling. After the tournament, he was named to the NIT all-star team which toured Italy and Yugoslavia. On the trip he averaged 18 points per game.
That same year, Turner was named All-SEC and was profiled in a Sports Illustrated feature on the nation's top college basketball defenders. He regularly drew the opponents' top scorer and built a reputation as a shut-down guard.
Mississippi achieved even greater heights his senior season when Turner was unanimously selected All-Southeast Conference and finished the season with a 20.6 ppg average. The Rebels won the SEC tournament for the first time in school history in 1981 where, as a sixth seed, they upset tournament favorite Georgia in the championship game 66-62.
Turner's name still ranks prominently in the Ole Miss record books. Over twenty five years later, he still ranks fourth all-time in scoring with 1805 points over in 113 games. He's third all-time in field goals made with 754 and second in career rebounds with 828.
The Mavericks made Turner their fourth selection in the 1981 NBA draft joining a class that included Mark Aguirre, Rolando Blackman and Jay Vincent. He had the best year of his career, statistically, in his rookie season when he averaged 8.3 ppg and 2.4 assists per game.
He continued to be a defensive specialist during his time in Dallas and was respected for his toughness. Former Mavs coach Dick Motta once said of Turner, "When I walk down a dark alley, I want Elston with me."
After leaving the Mavs, Turner played with the Denver Nuggets (1984-1986; 1989) and the Chicago Bulls (1986-1988) before retiring as a player.
Turner began a coaching career in the CBA as an assistant with Quad City and as a player/coach with the Chicago Rockers.
He became an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers before moving to coach Rick Adelman's staff in Sacramento where he spent six seasons. Prior to the 2008-2009 season, Turner joined the staff of the Houston Rockets.
The University of Mississippi honored Turner in 2000 when they inducted him in the Ole Miss M-Club Hall of Fame. He was also named to the 2007 class of the Chick-Fil-A Southeast Conference Basketball Legends, the ninth year the awards have been given.
His son, Elston Turner, Jr., is currently a 6'4 guard with the Texas A&M University basketball team.