Box And One With Ronny Turiaf

By Wesley Chism Jr.
Updated: March 13, 2008

SEATTLE — Ronny Turiaf was one of the most dominate players in country during his senior year at Gonzaga University and collected a ridiculous amount of awards. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 15.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a senior.

He was named West Coast Conference Player of the Year and earned Honorable Mention All-American honors from the Associated Press and was a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards.

“Being a student athlete at Gonzaga University was one of the best experiences of my life” Turiaf said.The teachers and toaches were all very supportive.” Ronny graduated, on time with a degree in Sports Management and Communication.

He speaks five different languages so there’s no limit to what direction he may go after basketball. By being drafted by the Lakers in the second round (37th overall), all of Ronny’s dreams were coming true.

“To hear your name called on draft day is like hearing Santa Claus putting stuff underneath the Christmas tree”, Turiaf added. Showtime had to put on hold for a few minutes after the shocking diagnosis during a routine physical. They discovered he had an enlarged aortic root and needed surgery immediately.

“I was a little scared but the Doctors assured me that I would be okay and would be able to live a normal life”, Turiaf said. “I really didn’t think about basketball, I just love life so much and wanted it to continue.”

“I feel great now and really don’t talk about that situation much unless you guys (media folks) bring it up. I just stayed focused and contribute to this team at the best of my ability when I get on the floor. I’m living my life to the fullest every day.”

To some of the old Lakers faithful fans, Turiaf is a younger version of Kurt Rambis without the Clark Kent glasses. If you have ever seen Ronny play, his enthusiasm is contagious and is very much appreciated by his teammates.

“I love what Ronny does for this team,” stated Kobe Bryant. “He’s like the kid brother that I never had and we talk all the time on and off the court,” he added. Ronny brings a lot of energy into the game and plays hard at both ends of the court.

Ronny doesn’t need any plays drawn up for him and he’s fine with that, he knows how to get to the ball. He added, “This is a team game and my teammates always find a way to get me the ball when I’m open and the fact that I love to pass and defend compliments many of my teammates.”

“I’m grateful for life, the opportunity to play in the NBA with a wonderful organization such as the Lakers and fulfill the dreams that I had as a young boy.”