2019’s Lydia Turner is drawing comparisons to Elena Delle Donne | Youth1

2019’s Lydia Turner is drawing comparisons to Elena Delle Donne

Lydia Turner is one of the best players from the Niceville, FL area in the Class of 2019.


The 5-foot-7 Turner, who attends Rocky Bayou Christian School, is a dynamic player that works as a small forward.


Turner has earned plenty of recognition during her outstanding youth career, such as:


Varsity Volleyball Best All-Around (3 years)

Varsity Basketball Best All- Around(3 years)

FCA Christian Leadership Award

All Area 2018 Volleyball Team

2018 Subway All-Star Volleyball Team

Marine Distinguished Athlete Award

Junior High Player of the Year

Taylor Haughen 2019 Trophy Winner


Turner is humbled by the accolades.


“Of course, I have always been extremely honored when selected by a coach or fellow teammates for an award in a particular sport, but my first out-of-school award, making the 2018 All Area Volleyball Team, was so exciting and encouraged me as an athlete. The award that means the most to me by far, is the Taylor Haughen Trophy. Being selected across three counties to carry on T’s legacy through the foundation has been an inspiration to share my life with others and an enormous privilege,” Turner said. “Unfortunately, I sustained a high-ankle sprain injury one week before the All-star game, and was not able to participate, however, that did not take away from the gratefulness I will always have for being selected.”


No matter the opponent, every game Turner is determined to give it her all.


Turner is going all out.


The motor is always at full throttle whenever Turner steps between the lines.


“In every sport that I play, it is a key mindset to always hustle after the ball and keep the energy up. As a volleyball setter, the team looks to me recover any shanked passes, as well as to always make the next ball better. In basketball, my mindset is always to set my teammates up for success and keep the energy positive and momentum on our side. In softball, it is so important to me to cheer on every player with their own unique chant to make them feel like the best; a batter is only as good as they believe they are,” Turner said. “Throughout all the sports, I always try to work the hardest on the court/field and be competing with myself first.”


Turner has great passion and energy whenever she’s on the hardwood. Turner tells why she enjoys the game of basketball so much.


“Playing sports is like eating to me. I believe that a real athlete doesn’t work hard to show himself the best, but simply because he has to,” Turner said. “If I didn’t play sports, it would feel like I was missing out on a part of life, so the thing I love most about playing, is the part of my life that sports fulfills.”


Turner has learned many valuable lessons from playing basketball that he applies to her everyday life.


The main one is applying perspective to all situations.


“Basketball has taught me work ethic. As I get farther along in my education and overall maturity I have realized that the number one thing in life to be successful is basically work ethic,” Turner said. “Just as it is the difference between who plays and sits, it is the difference between who lives their life with purpose and who lets life happen to them.”


Turner recalls her favorite sports memory.


“My favorite game ever was in my junior year of playing volleyball. I was running a 5-1 as the only setter, and we were coming off a fairly successful season going into the playoffs. All season long, we were focused on one team, our district rivals who had knocked us out of the championship every year prior. We worked hard every day to discipline ourselves against their effective offense and to become a threat ourselves. When the day came, I somehow knew from the first serve that we were going to win,” Turner said. “All the matches were close, each team winning a set and then losing won. In the last game to 15, we won by two points with an awesome kill from an outside hitter I had been working with specifically all year. It was the greatest feeling in the world to be the team that beat our rivals and advance to the championship. That moment and celebration with my team was my favorite memory in sports.”


Molly Brown is in her first season coaching Turner for Rocky Bayou Christian School.


Brown explains the best parts of Turner’s game.


“She is not the tallest but we often put her on bigger post players because of her strength and work ethic in the paint,” Brown said.


Turner takes her role as one of the leaders on the team very seriously. Turner makes sure she’s a daily positive influence on her peers.


“As a captain of my volleyball and basketball team for several years, I have learned that there some things that will give others the inclination to follow you as a leader.

1)     To always see their ideas/interests/needs as more important than your own, so that they know you’ve considered their point of view when you propose your own

2)     Purpose your actions to benefit your teammates even when it is not your job/position to do so

3)     Be willing to serve your teammates in any capacity, whether on the court or in their personal life

I believe these are the dynamics of a team that will make it successful and cater to the best of everyone on the team,” Turner said. “Most of the time, the things that I will mention to my teammates is generally analytical, pointing out things I see in the game that will help us to be more successful. But, anytime the energy is low, in any of my sports, I am usually the first to encourage my teammates to cheer each other on and to maintain positive energy and good communication that will make everyone play together better.”


Brown adds that Turner is one of those consummate teammates that every squad needs to be successful.


“She is our captain and she leads the team on and off the court,” Brown said. “She has a decent understanding of the game and often is a mediator between me and her teammates if there is any confusion.”


Turner is appreciative of having amazing role models that are supportive.


“My coaches are definitely the people who have influenced me the most throughout high school. In volleyball, I was blessed by Coach Sam Nimpchaimanatham, who has played with the Air Force in almost every country in the world. We truly did not ever deserve to have him, but in my time with him I learned about the importance of simple mechanics in volleyball, how to lead a team with passion but not extremity, how to love the game and the players in it, and most importantly, our Ohana. In basketball, I have been blessed by several coaches who have not only mentored me as I struggled through the game, but sought me out and mentored aspects of my life. Coach Aaron Cain and Coach Jenni Griffin have been unwavering pillars of support and love in all of my endeavors, while Coach Eaves and Coach Brown have pushed me to be a better player looking for the interests of others first. In softball, Coach Lynn Holcomb was the greatest blessing she could have been. She took me in as an unexperienced player and worked with me, putting an emphasis on hustle and always getting better. Her encouragement and level of coaching sparked a love in me of a game I was barely familiar with previously. I have my coaches to thank for every redeemable characteristic coming out of high school and I will miss them all so much,” Turner said. “The best advice I was ever given by a coach was actually given quite frequently by Coach Sam. It was like a beating drum, always in the back of my head during a game. He would call me over to the sideline, look me in the eye and say, ‘Lead your team LT’. His expectation for me to lead ultimately calmed me down, slowed the pace of the game, and put a conscious effort in everyone to make the next ball better. I even find myself repeating his mandate in stressful situations of my daily life as well.”

Brown is an advocate of Turner’s capabilities.

“She is a straight go getter,” Brown said. “Loose balls she's on the floor, touches on the ball in defense. She is very disruptive to the other team because of how hard she works.”


In addition to making clutch plays, Turner also has a high level of basketball IQ as well.


Turner has excellent basketball awareness that puts her in position to thrive.


“Her IQ of the game is prevalent in her play,” Brown said. “She often makes great cuts to the basket or sees a great cut and is able to get the ball in her teammates hand where they can be successful.”


Turner is on the grind to perfect and hone her craft in any way possible.


“Lydia is what I call a ‘run through that wall player’. Her work ethic is one that coaches wish they could teach,” Brown said.”It is obvious Lydia has something inside her driving her to success because she strives to get better each and every day.

Brown explains why she compares Turner to this standout.

“She’s a lot like Elena Delle Donne because she’s a powerhouse,” Brown said. “Just like her, she makes her presence felt on the court.”


Turner patterns her mentality after the all-time greats of basketball.


“I got into watching basketball when I was pretty young, and I decided I needed to be a Miami Heat fan.(When I first started watching, it was the era of the Big 3: LeBron, Bosh, and Wade. I lived my adolescent life pretending I was those players, dunking a basketball over my playground slide, shooting threes with dirty laundry, and wearing sunglasses inside to avoid all the paparazzi(that never got the memo I was Lebron James),” Turner said. “As I watch now, I have more relatable role models like Elena Delle Donne and Diana Taurasi, but Wade is still my favorite player to watch.”


Turner is constantly striving for greatness in everything that she does.


“My first and foremost goal in all that I do is always to glorify and serve God,” Turner said. “My hope is that I can do that through my sports interactions and through the way that I live my life every day.”


Turner tells what’s her favorite subject in school.


“The course I’m taking called Banking Services Careers is definitely my favorite current class,” Turner said. “I’m hoping to major in Finances and help teach people about how to manage their money.”


Brown outlines the areas of improvement that will take Turner to the next level.


“We've been working on her shooting the ball more,” Brown said. “She is not a bad shooter she just lacks confidence in her game so we have been working on building that confidence so the shooting aspect of her game can improve.”


Brown believes the sky is the limit as long as Turner continues to stay hungry.  


“Her potential is more than what she does on the court,” Brown said. ”She will lead wherever she goes and her work ethic will allow her to succeed in anything she decides to do.”



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