North Alabama’s Own Ralston Turner and Trevor Lacey Take Similar Paths to the “Big Dance”

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - (WHNT) Ralston Turner and Trevor Lacey are one of the best back court tandems in the country, but they haven't been a tandem very long. It's their first full season together after transferring from SEC schools. That is not the only similarity between Lacey and Turner's story. Both guards grew up in North Alabama, Turner from Muscle Shoals and Lacey from Huntsville. They also both had a previous relationship with current head coach Mark Gottfried.

"He's been recruiting me since the 8th grade," Lacey told WHNT News 19 just weeks after leaving Tuscaloosa. The idea of playing in a system not conducive to his skill set became frustrating for Lacey who decided sitting out a season was better than staying at Alabama.

One year before, Turner was struggling to find happiness at LSU. There was not much excitement surrounding the program and head coach Trent Johnson was on his way out the door. "There just wasn't much excitement around the program," Gottfried said Wednesday at a press conference in Pittsburgh. "It was hard for those kids. I'm not knocking Trent but it just was hard."

Alabama and LSU are football schools and nobody on campus will argue that fact. It's great for the University but tough for students who play other sports to see packed stadiums, and empty arenas. This is not the case at N.C. State. "This year in the league we averaged 18,600 fans in conference this year so he's gone from where he was the first two years to having that," said Gottfried.

Now Turner and Lacey are together with the goal of a National Championship in mind, and a large following of support in North Alabama.

The plot thickens when you consider the Wolfpack are playing LSU in their second round game Thursday. Tip time is 8:20 central on TBS.