Senior Guard Among State Leaders in Scoring, and Has Chance at 1,000 Career Points
MONROE, NJ—Being the son of one of the top coaches all time in Middlesex County, and a nephew to another successful GMC coach, Monroe’s Andrew Turco has had the opportunity to see a lot of great players do great things growing up.
From watching the likes of Quenton DeCosey, Danny Brix, Karl Anthony Towns, Wade Baldwin, Marques Townes, Bree Tyree, Tyus Battle, Alanzo Frank, and Letrell West to competing against others such as Tyree Ford, K-Shawn Schulters, Devin Strickland, Justin Carbone, Chad Baker, Luke Valeriano, Ahyan Brown-Miller, Tahjay Moore, and Manny Davila, the senior guard has been able to observe, learn, and absorb much about the game of basketball.
This year, he has put all of that learning and observation to great use. After a superb junior season, where he served as a playmaker to the likes of 1,000 point scorer, Mike Kides, and Josh Daniels on a Monroe team that reached the GMCT Quarterfinals for the first time since 2012, and the Central Jersey Group 4 Semifinals, he has stepped up his game even further by becoming the Falcons primary scoring threat in 2019-20, and has put the team on his back to post a 10-10 overall record including an 8-8 mark in the GMC Red as of the end of play on Saturday.
Through 20 games this season, Turco has tallied 83 field goals, 75 three pointers, and 129 made free throws for a total of 520 points, or an average of 26.0 points per game, and 3.8 made threes per game. In addition, Turco has also contributed in other areas with 66 rebounds, 60 assists, and 52 steals, or averages of 3.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.6 steals per game. Although he has taken on a much larger scoring role, Turco still hasn’t forgotten the playmaking skills that made him the floor general for last year’s successful Falcon team.
Recently in a game at Perth Amboy, where Turco pumped in 30 points, he rebounded a missed free throw at the other end, pushed the ball up court, and passed it down to the right corner where Kyle Siegel was waiting, and Siegel made a three that lifted Monroe to an exciting 51-50 win and a season sweep of the 9th ranked Panthers in front of a raucous packed house that hasn’t been seen in Amboy in at least 15 years. Turco’s efforts in that game winning play was reminiscent of Michael Jordan passing to former St. John’s great Bill Weddington for the game winning score against the Knicks when Jordan scored 55 in his return to the Garden in 1995.
Turco has played in all 20 of Monroe’s games, and he has scored in double figures in every one of them. His lowest scoring game has been only 17, which he’s done on three occasions this season including a recent 62-43 loss to East Brunswick on February 1st. His season, or career high is 40, which he also did against East Brunswick in a 70-67 defeat to the Bears on January 21st. He has scored 20 or more points thirteen times this season according to nj.com. Of those 13 games, Turco has scored over 30 five times including two 39 point performances versus Sayreville on January 4th, and at Old Bridge on January 11th, and a 36 point effort versus Freehold Boro on January 31st.
Of those five 30 plus point games, GMC Hoops has been two three of them including the efforts versus Old Bridge and Perth Amboy in their totality. Turco’s run is reminiscent of the one made by Letrell West at St. Joseph’s in Dave Turco’s final season with the Falcons. In that year, West, who played at Piscataway Tech his first two years, and came off the bench at Joes his junior year, led the Falcons to a 26-2 record and both a GMC Red and GMCT crown by tallying 152 field goals, 43 treys, and 140 made free throws for a total of 585 points, or an average of 20.9 points per game.
West, who made the GMC All Gold Division team as a sophomore before transferring to St. Joseph’s, was such a prolific scorer that year, that he still managed to reach 1,000 career points in his final game against Bishop Eustace in the 2017 Non-Public A South Semifinals. In that season, West scored in double figures in every game according to nj.com including 12 games of over 20 points or more, and four straight games of 33 points or more from February 11, 2017 to February 19, 2017 culminating with a career high 41 points against Piscataway in the GMCT Elite Eight at New Brunswick.
West, who went on to lead last year’s Middlesex County College team also coached by the elder Turco, to a Region 19 Championship also went on to score all 19 points in the 2nd half after going to the bench with two fouls late in the first half to led the Falcons past third seeded Sayreville for the 2017 GMCT title. West is now playing Division II college hoops at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, where he is averaging 13.3 points per game in 24 contests with the Panthers. Turco has a chance to also reach 1,000 points. Coming into the season, the senior guard at Monroe had a total of 64 points as a sophomore, and 306 as a junior for 370 career points.
Adding his exploits to date his senior year, Turco now has a career total of 890 points. He has tallied that on 124 field goals, 141 threes, and 194 made free throws. Turco’s father, Dave Turco coached at three different GMC schools including his alma mater of Carteret, South Brunswick, and St. Joseph’s. During those three stops, the elder Turco won 8 GMCT titles, led teams to 12 GMCT Finals appearances, and 15 GMCT Final Fours include three with Carteret (2000-2002), one at South Brunswick (2005), and 11 at St. Joseph’s (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017). Andrew’s uncle Bob, who served as assistant to his father at Carteret and South Brunswick, also coached Monroe to three GMCT Final Fours (2006, 2009, and 2010) including the school’s only GMCT Final appearance in 2010.
Prior to joining his brother at Carteret and South Brunswick as an assistant, Bob Turco served as an assistant coach to Bob Molarz at Carteret and Ken Pace at Colonia. Dave Turco also was part of two championship boys basketball teams at Carteret including the 1985-86 Ramblers team that won the inaugural GMCT Championship over New Brunswick behind a 40 point performance from Keith Hughes Sr., and the 1987-88 Ramblers squad that reached the GMCT Final Four at Rutgers before losing to eventual champion, Metuchen, and won the Central Jersey Group 2 Championship by defeating Delaware Valley at Sayreville. The 1987-88 Carteret team had a couple memorable wins that season.
With a team consisting of the likes of not only Turco, but also John Dolan, Corey Lowe, and Mike Medvetz, who was also a talented pitcher for the Ramblers during baseball season, Carteret entered both the 1988 GMCT and NJSIAA CJ Group 2 state tournaments as a 7th seed. In the 1988 GMCT, the Ramblers defeated 2nd seeded and co-GMC Red champ, St. Joseph’s in the quarterfinals at Middlesex County College only to lose in the semis at the RAC to Metuchen thanks to a 35 point performance from Lamar Smith. Then, in the Central Jersey Group 2 state tourney, the Ramblers faced 2nd seeded Lawrence, led by McDonald’s All-American Chucky McKay, and jumped out to a 17-2 led in the first quarter before hanging on to win 51-49.
The 1987-88 Ramblers then defeated Holmdel in the semifinals, and then a Delaware Valley team that had knocked-off a Donnell Lumpkin led South Brunswick team in the other semifinal. The younger Turco experienced almost a similar run in the Central Jersey Group 4 state playoffs when the 7th seeded Falcons went into Red Division foe, and second seeded Old Bridge, and defeated the Knights (52-50) in the quarterfinal round after losing to the Knights twice during the regular season including a 56-48 defeat at home in overtime on January 10th. Congratulations Andrew on a great season thus far, and wishing you luck on your quest to getting 1,000 points.