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Q&A: Northwestern Center Mike Turner

Redshirt freshman center Mike Turner is flying under the radar after sitting out last year, but he's slated for minutes this season and will likely play a role off the bench. He met up with the media Tuesday before Northwestern's exhibition opener against the University of Chicago on Wednesday.

How does it feel to have the redshirt off?

I’m really excited to finally (get) my chance to get to compete for some minutes, so it’s looking good so far.

How do you see your role playing out this year?

I’m really trying to help out with defensive rebounding. I think that’s one of the areas where we’re trying to improve, especially from last year, and hopefully I can not try to do too much and just help the guys around me and help my team win.

Have the coaches told you what they expect of you?

Something like what I just said. They really want me to get a lot of rebounds, try to stop the interior scoring and hopefully I can do that.

How much have the veterans helped you in learning this role?

A little bit. There’s still a lot to learn — this is a new position for me. The guys are always encouraging and really helpful.

So they’re looking for you to play a pure “4” kind of role?

We don’t really do the numbers game, especially with our offense. But if you want to think about it like that, more 4/5ish.

Was it tough for you to have to sit out last year?

It was difficult, but I just tried to go into each practice trying to help my team do whatever I could — play scout team, play defense, so those guys could really run through the offense and get a good look for their games.

What do you think you need to improve on most last year?

I knew I definitely needed to get stronger and I think I’ve done that.

Is it tough playing center since you’re a bit undersized?

With my size, since I’m a little bit undersized, both width and, I guess, height-wise, it’s a little bit of a mismatch with some of the other centers in the league. But I think I have a little bit of a mismatch as well. I’m a little quicker, a little bit more athletic, so I work with what I’ve got.