When former Plymouth standout Brook Turson was finished playing basketball collegiately, there was little doubt what the next step was.
One look at the bench during the action of any NCAA Division II Ashland University game shows Turson in his natural element. The 2010 Plymouth graduate and the all-time leading scorer in Firelands Conference history is in his fourth season as an assistant on the Eagles' coaching staff.
Growing up in the same household as his father, Brad Turson, who coached and won 245 games for the Big Red for 17 seasons, it's no surprise to see Brook giving pointers on the AU bench to players and head coach John Ellenwood.
"It was kind of seamless for me to be honest," Turson said of his transition from AU player to assistant coach. "Just being around dad and my brothers (Graig and Brett) in the gym, and this is a program that John has allowed me to be around as a player and now a coach — so I'm very comfortable here."
Turson was a three-year starter for the Eagles after transferring from Columbus State, and was the Eagles' second-leading scorer (8.6 points per game) as a senior in 2014-15. He scored 705 points and was a two-time GLIAC honorable mention selection.
It was a long road traveled to end up 22 miles from home for Turson, who still commutes from Plymouth to Ashland every day, where he also works in the admissions office. He married his wife, Jennifer, last year.
"It's a great place with great people who are easy to be around," Turson said of Ashland. "It's a nice balance between work and coaching."
At Plymouth, Turson became the only four-time Firelands Conference Player of the Year. He scored 2,063 points while earning All-Ohio recognition three times. Perhaps more importantly, the Big Red went 81-13 with three FC titles and three district championships in his four years of high school.
One of the current AU players who needs no introduction to the area can also recall the Turson days in Plymouth.
"When I was in eighth grade, I watched one of his district games, and I remember he went off," said redshirt senior Ben Haraway, a 2014 Norwalk graduate. "So I did know that about him before."
Haraway, who also went through transferring to AU from Malone, said Turson's best attribute is providing a player's perspective within a game.
"Sometimes coaches who have been out of the game too long only see things one way," Haraway said. "Brook is a good middle man between the player and coach. He is a very relaxed personality, but he'll be very observant. When he sees something, he's not afraid to tell the players or coach about it."
Ellenwood, who has a 169-107 record at Ashland entering Thursday, agrees. He said Turson is a huge help from the bench.
"Brook is one of the most intelligent basketball minds I've been around," Ellenwood said. "He does a great job of just seeing the game. He's got a point guard mind and a coach mentality from being around his dad growing up. Even when he was here as a player, he was like a coach on the floor. And he's got a competitor's heart.
"That's the thing with him that's so special," he added. "Brook makes me a better coach. I don't see things as well as my assistants. They see things great, and it's good to have those guys on the bench who see things that compliment your weaknesses."
But the X's and O's within a game is not the biggest takeaway from each game or season for Turson.
The Eagles are having yet another strong season, as they took a 21-4 record (13-4 GLIAC) and a No. 18 ranking into Thursday's game at Northwood.
"There are so many things, but the relationships you build is the biggest thing for me," Turson said. "Talking about someone like Ben in the last year-plus, just a great representative of our area. You get to impact lives in a lot different ways. You just hope they are better men when they leave the program, and I think we do a really good job of that."
Turson's long-term goal is to always stay in the game. The admitted gym rat admits it's probably not possible to not be active in basketball at this point.
"I have too much passion for it to not stay involved in the game in some capacity," he said. "I hope it's at the college level, but if not, you can re-evaluate things and move on down the road.
"But I'm going to be involved in basketball in some capacity pretty much the rest of my life," Turson added. "And this has been a great place for to not only stay in the game, but surround myself with great people and lasting friendships."