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The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona volleyball’s Jade Turner follows her father’s footsteps as a proud UA athlete

Arizona+middle+blocker+Jade+Turner+%2833%29+sets+up+for+a+spike+during+Arizonas+3-0+win+against+Alabama+State+in+McKale+Center+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+2%2C+2016.
Rebecca Noble / The Daily Wildca
Arizona middle blocker Jade Turner (33) sets up for a spike during Arizona’s 3-0 win against Alabama State in McKale Center on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

When it comes to being a Wildcat for life, Arizona women’s volleyball’s Jade Turner epitomizes the impact an alma mater can have on a family for generations.

Joe Turner, Jade’s father, played basketball at the UA from 1985-1988, assuming a sixth man role on the ‘88 Final Four team. He was an influence when it came to both Jade’s decision to come to Arizona and her career choice.

“My father is my biggest inspiration,” Jade said.

She was born in Auckland, New Zealand, where her father was playing professional basketball at the time. She grew up in Joe’s hometown of Bakersfield, California, as the second oldest of five children.

During her childhood, Jade had a consistent connection with Arizona. Moments with her father at his alma mater contributed to her lifelong love for the UA.

“My father took us to the All-Star games, homecomings and we hung out with Lute Olson,” Jade said.

She started playing volleyball her freshman year of high school but also took up swimming. At 6-foot-4, it wasn’t a hard decision for Jade to leave the pool behind and pursue volleyball as a middle blocker.

In high school, she was a four-year letter winner and team MVP. As team captain her senior year, Jade totaled 220 kills, 165 blocks and 44 aces, earning her a scholarship with Arizona.

When she came to Arizona as a freshman in 2014, head coach David Rubio saw redshirting as her best option since Jade was only 17 years old. Travelling and practicing with the team as a redshirt helped her mature as a D1 athlete.

Jade fit into her role off the bench in 2015. In the 24 sets she played, she racked up 27 kills on 28 swings, earning a .429 hitting percentage on the year. She has been gracious for Rubio’s choices throughout her career at Arizona.

“Not playing allowed me to adjust to the fast-paced college game,” Jade said.

She also adjusted to the lifestyle of a student-athlete, which includes figuring out ideal nap times, when to eat and balancing team bonding with game preparation.

When it comes to her impact on the team, both Rubio and teammate McKenzie Jacobson immediately complimented Jade’s exuberance.

During the grind of a 32-game season, the team can start to feel weighed down by the rigorous schedule, but Jade’s energy pushes the team to get through the rough patches with a positive attitude.

“Jade is extremely outgoing,” Jacobson said. “She’s always smiling and always says hi to everyone.”

It’s not only a lighthearted personality that she brings to the team. Rubio sees a bright future for the redshirt sophomore.

“She has potential to be the best middle blocker to play here,” Rubio said.

Jade has loved her experience as a Wildcat so far, even without attaining a starting role. In her first two years at Arizona, she has grown close with her teammates and settled into a comfortable role on the team.

“I have 19 new sisters,” Jade said. “I see myself as a leader to the younger girls, but I’m still learning from the older ones.”

Jade is pursuing a degree in literacy, learning and leadership, and hopes to help underprivileged children.

“I want to work with middle or high schoolers in my community,” she said.

Jade’s father worked as a community counselor at their shared alma mater, Foothill High School, and she admitted her father’s work inspires her to follow a similar path.

Jade earned her first career start at Arizona in the season opener against Kansas State. In her first career start, she had five kills and one block.

Looking forward to the conference match-ups, Jade is most excited to play ASU. Growing up a Wildcat means she understands the deep-rooted rivalry with the school up north and wants to come out of the gates strong.

Jade looks to compete hard this season and experience the same success her father did in his years at Arizona.


Follow Nikki Baim on Twitter.


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