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Lamonte Turner “Played All Season in Pain”

(Photo via Randy Sartin/USA Today Sports)

This past season wasn’t an easy one for Tennessee guard Lamonte Turner.

Earlier this week, Tennessee announced that Turner had another procedure on his left shoulder to fix “lingering issues from this past season.” According to Turner himself, he played the entire 2018-19 season in pain.

As a redshirt sophomore in the 2017-18 season, Turner was a sharpshooter for the Vols. He connected on 39.5 percent of his three-pointers and averaged 10.9 points per game in 25.3 minutes a game. Turner was voted as the Sixth Man of the Year in the SEC that season.

His redshirt junior season, however, didn’t go quite how he hoped it would.

Turner had a procedure on that same shoulder last offseason, but it was much closer to the start of the season. The redshirt junior missed the Vols’ first three games of the regular season and didn’t make his season debut until Tennessee took on Louisville in New York on November 21st. But once he started playing, it was evident he wasn’t back to normal yet.

In his first three games of the season, Turner averaged 10 points and four assists, but he only made five of his 25 three-point attempts (20.0 percent) and shot just 26.5 percent overall from the floor.

After Tennessee’s game against Eastern Kentucky, Turner sat for six-straight games to heal up and get ready for the Vols’ SEC slate. Turner didn’t play again until Tennessee started their conference schedule against Georgia on January 5th. He missed all three of his threes in that contest, but he found his shooting stroke the next game and was 3-of-4 from three in Tennessee’s win against Missouri.

Once Turner returned for SEC play, he looked much more like his old self. In his first 12 games after returning from injury, Turner averaged 12.1 points and 3.3 assists while connecting on 45.5 percent of his threes and shooting 54.4 percent overall all while earning a starting role as well.

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Then, he hit a Big Blue wall.

Against Kentucky on the road, Turner put up arguably the worst performance of his career, missing all seven of his three-pointers and totaling just four points in 36 minutes. That was the beginning of what would be a brutal ending to the regular season for Turner. Including that game against the Wildcats, Turner made just six of his 42 three-pointers (14.3 percent) over the final seven games of the regular season. Turner averaged just 7.3 points and shot just 31.4 percent from the floor. He did average 4.1 assists in that time, but it was clear that something was wrong with his shot.

But once the Vols reached the postseason, Turner dug deep and found a new gear.

In Tennessee’s three SEC Tournament games and three NCAA Tournament games, Turner averaged 13.2 points and 4.0 assists while making 41.9 percent of his threes and shooting 44.4 percent overall.

Turner closed the season strong, but his shoulder pain led to a very inconsistent redshirt junior season. On the year, Turner played in 28 games and started 19, averaging 11.0 points, 3.8 assists, and 2.8 rebounds while making 32.0 percent of his threes and shooting 42.2 percent from the floor overall.

Even with Turner playing the entire season in pain, he still put up career-highs in field goal percentage, points per game, and assists per game last season.

Tennessee will need Turner to be healthy and productive next season because he’ll likely be in an even bigger role for the Vols. Luckily for both Turner and UT, his procedure this offseason comes much earlier than the surgery he had last offseason, so he’ll have much longer to recover and get ready for the season.

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