ELSTON TURNER (better known as E.T.) was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He grew up in East Knoxville in the Dandridge Avenue area, starred as a player at Vine Jr. High, Austin-East High and Ole Miss. Then had an eight year career in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets and as a teammate to Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen with the Chicago Bulls. After retiring as a player from the NBA, he became an NBA coach. For the past 20 years he has been an Assistant Coach in the NBA. Currently he is with the Sacramento Kings. E.T., who has gained a reputation as a very capable basketball mind in the NBA, has been seriously considered and interviewed for head coaching positions in the NBA. His wealth of experience as a player and coach at the highest level of the game of basketball is what sets him apart from so many others in coaching and makes it likely that he will land a head coaching position on some level at some point.
He was All-America in high school and All-SEC in college. He led his high school Austin-East Roadrunners team to the first AAA state championship for A-E in 1977. He thereafter led the Ole Miss Rebels to their first SEC Basketball Championship and its first NCAA appearance in the school’s history.
The E.T. basketball coaching staff consists of current and former players and coaches and other volunteers who donate their time and energy, yearly. Some of the most dedicated staff members, some of whom have been with the camp since its original beginning when E.T. first went into the NBA include: Vernie McDuffey, Rodney Jones, George Underwood, Sanford Miller, Kyla King, Kim Jones, Jeff Tate (the camp’s “Stay Focus” motivational speaker), David Dupree, Erma Ross, Chance & Chase Jones, Vanetta Kelso Robinson, camp photographers Ray Mosley and Terry Collins and numerous other camp volunteers without whom the camp would not happen.
Every year the camp seeks sponsorship. With the difficult economy over the past few years, sponsorship has likewise been difficult to come by. The young people the camp especially seeks to serve (economically disadvantaged youth particularly) likewise suffer because when sponsorship is down free camp scholarships have to be down which means many youth who can’t afford to come don’t; so any assistance anyone has to boost sponsorship is always welcome. Project GRAD Knoxville has been an anchor partner of the E.T. Basketball Camp since its resumption five years ago.
E.T. is married to Louise Turner and they have two children, son Elston, Jr. and daughter Taylor.