Josiah Turner committed a foul that appeared to cost Arizona a critical home game.
You’re familiar with the buildup – whiteout, ESPN, GameDay, first place on the line. A furious and late rally, capped by Solomon Hill’s 26th, 27th, and 28th points tied the game with nine seconds remaining. McKale was erupting. The Huskies were stunned. Game on.
We often refer to the end of a game, particularly a close one, as the waning moments of a contest. If you’ll recall elementary school astronomy, waning refers to the dwindling appearance of the moon; waxing the opposite. It’s an obvious metaphor, analogizing the shrinking moon to the shrinking clock.
The reality, however, is that these moments are everything but waning. Nothing is shrinking but the numbers on the clock. Beyond that, every play is enlarged, each bucket more important than the last. These are not waning moments, they’re waxing. They unfold in seemingly incomprehensible immediacy, waiting just long enough to discover the hero of this magnified flash. Or the scapegoat.
Therefore, following Hill’s game-tying three and as the Huskies inbounded the ball, it was clear that a play of game changing magnitude was forthcoming. Perhaps it would be a Washington drive and dish or another step-back jumper. Perhaps it would be a stop by the Arizona defense and a chance to win the game that looked all but over minutes prior. I was watching, you were watching, and we both knew something was going to happen at this most critical of junctures.
Not the foul, just a foul. It was Turner’s attempt to make the big play, draw the charge on the rumbling CJ Wilcox to force a Washington turnover and subsequent Arizona game-winning possession.
In his effort, Josiah Turner failed. He sent Wilcox to the line for the game sealing free throws, the once deafening McKale crowd silenced. The moment could have swallowed Turner. It would have been understandable for him to wane, perhaps befitting of the mercurial freshman just one game removed from his temper-less ejection. Turner quite easily could have disappeared into the gravity of the instant.
In five dribbles he took the ball the length of the court, made a move few others are gifted enough to even imagine, and got to the rim. The layup to tie the score for the seventh time that evening was vengefully blocked by Tony Wroten. Josiah Turner had failed for the second time in less than six-seconds of game play.
In the waxing moments of that game Josiah Turner showed us all why every team in the nation wanted him to wear their jersey. He showed poise beyond his years and beyond his maturity level. The big point guard from Sacramento makes plays. He proved as much on Saturday and now, leading into a no less daunting weekend in the Bay Area, he’ll be asked to so once again. The ball in his hands, a part of the season on his shoulders, he’ll be asked to succeed.
This post can also be seen at pointguardu.com: your source for Arizona basketball and recruiting news.