The Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame welcomed eight new members this Friday, including two of the greatest basketball players ever to play at Ohio State.
The new members are Evan Turner (men’s basketball), Jantel Lavender (women’s basketball), John Machado (baseball), Justin Kronauge (men’s tennis), Dan Taylor (men’s track and field), Sam Marder (softball), Randall Larson (diving) and Paul Zelenak (pistol).
Headlining the class are the two basketball stars, Turner and Lavender, who both ended their Ohio State careers among their respective team’s all time leading scorers.
Turner, who was taken with the second overall pick back in the 2010 NBA draft, played both guard and forward for three seasons (2007-2010) at Ohio State and helped lead the club to a 2008 National Invitational Tournament championship, runner-up in the 2009 Big Ten Conference Men’s Basketball tournament and then to victory in the conference tournament the following season.
During Turner’s career, he led the Big Ten in scoring in both his sophomore and his junior season. Turner currently sits 18th on the all-time Ohio State scoring list with 1,517 points. He was also an All-Big Ten player in his two final seasons and a first team consensus All-American in his junior season. On Feb. 16, 2015, Turner’s number was retired during the Ohio State vs Michigan game.
Turner said that he has been humbled by everything that has gone on to celebrate his legacy as a Buckeye.
“The Ohio State is so close to my heart,” Turner said. “To be able to come back here and get honored, to be able to do things most guys aren’t able to do is a blessing. Like I said, I’m a big Buckeye. This is all unreal to me still.”
Even after looking back at a career that has spanned six seasons in the NBA to this point, Turner still remembers his time fondly at Ohio State, saying that it is where he has had “the best memories.”
“Still sometimes I go to my mom’s house and look at the trophies and things I was able to do here,” Turner said. “We were able to accomplish that, I was able to be a part of that, that’s unreal and to be appreciated for your hard work and your efforts is always a blessing.”
The other basketball star joining the ranks of Buckeye immortality is all time leading scorer of the women’s basketball team Jantel Lavender. Over her four year career at Ohio State, Lavender averaged 20.7 points per game and totaled 2818 points and collected 1422 rebounds (most all-time in Big Ten women’s basketball history). Lavender played from 2007-2011 and reached double-digit scoring totals in all 136 games, an NCAA record. She is also the only athlete in the history of the Big Ten to be given the title of Big Ten Player of the Year in every season she played.
During her tenure, Lavender led the Scarlet and Gray to three Big Ten regular season titles, three tournament titles, an appearance in the NCAA tournament in every season and a pair of Sweet 16 appearances.
After her career at Ohio State was over, she was drafted with the fifth overall pick in the 2011 WNBA draft by the Los Angeles Sparks and was named an All-Star in 2015.
Lavender has looked back on her successful career with a lot of pride and has felt that it is a tremendous milestone to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“For me to become just eligible to be in the Hall of Fame and to be inducted, it’s unbelievable,” Lavender said. “I don’t think it’s really hit me 100% yet. I just know I put in so much work and I put myself forward to the game and gave my teammates so much that I think it’s well deserving and I’m happy about it and I’m just happy to be here.”
The new Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at halftime of Saturday’s football game against Tulsa.