MARK LEFFINGWELL
Already a potent shooter, guard Garrett Turner will look to expand his role this season for the Boulder Panthers.

BOULDER — When the Boulder basketball team huddles during a time out, one would think it’d be difficult to spot the 5-foot-9 guy hidden amongst all the trees.

Odds are, however, you’d be able to figure out who Garrett Turner is. He’ll be the one revving everyone else’s motors for the Panthers.

Though his reputation entering the 2013-14 season for BHS will be as the leading returning scorer, Turner wants to be so much more.

“I want to (be reliable), but really I just am going to let the game come to me, just play my game and look to lead,” Turner said during a preseason practice. “I want to be that point guard kind of player and score when I need to.

“We’ve got to get tougher. We have to fight through (tight situations), and I feel like I’ve just got to pull the guys together when I feel that moment is coming. Just help guys push through, knowing we can do it.”

It hasn’t taken long for the junior guard to realize he can be pretty influential. A swing player as a freshman, Turner burst onto the scene last year as a sophomore for BHS, averaging 12.4 points for the Front Range League team. Further examination into the slate revealed he turned it up during the second half of the year, when he failed to reach double-digit scoring numbers just twice after Jan. 22.

A lot of attention was paid to now-graduated players Alejandro Rodriguez and Jonah Charnick, but head coach Eric Eisenhard said that didn’t necessarily mean Turner just took advantage of some poor defenders on the other side last year.

“I think a lot of times people were still focusing on him, especially because he had a lot of big games,” Eisenhard said. “He’s capable of doing it, no question about it.”

Now Eisenhard also has placed his trust in Turner to keep the team on an even keel.

“He’s had a great summer with us in terms of taking more of that lead role,” Eisenhard said. “There’s a learning curve that happened for him from a leadership standpoint, not just the X’s and O’s on the court. Jonah managed a lot of our ups-and-downs on the court last year, and Garrett is going to be that guy in charge of doing that this year.”

“I think it’s clear you can see him maturing, getting better as he gets older,” said teammate Tommy Baumgartner. “He understands how to coach the other guys on the team and … he’s understanding when he needs to take the game into his hands.

“His work ethic is incredible, and he’s going 100 percent every single second of practice. I think that shows in the games, too.”

The Panthers, who finished 15-10 last season and won a playoff game before falling in heartbreaking fashion to Regis Jesuit in the second round, need that energy to spread like wildfire. When stacked up against other teams in the FRL, Boulder will likely be on the smaller end of the measuring tape.

Junior forward Leif Blessing is listed at about 6-3, and he is the giant on the varsity roster. The word “scrappy” will be an appropriate adjective to describe how Boulder will go about its business on defense.

Cooper Bohm, a 5-9 guard, joins Turner as the returning starters, while the team will also look for significant minutes from Bill DiScipio (guard, 6-0), Baumgartner (guard, 5-10) and Collin Heimbach (guard, 6-0). Joe Szarmach, Sterling Williams and Nate Mitchell join Bohm as the seniors on the team.

“We’re pretty small, so we’re going to have to be a high-pressure team, high-energy,” said Turner, who was named to the All-FRL second team as well as BoCoPreps.com all-region honorable mention. “If we don’t bring our energy, we’re not going to be the team we want to be. I need to be the one to get them going.”

“We’re going to run a faster-paced offense and use our speed on defense because we don’t have a lot of size,” Baumgartner said. “We’re going to try to minimize the time spent on each side of the floor.”

One thing that is different about this year’s squad is depth. Last year, there were times when the Panthers suited just eight players. This year, there are a healthy 12 on varsity and plenty more waiting in the wings.

“I think our program is full enough now where we’re probably going to be reloading every year rather than rebuilding,” Eisenhard, now in his third season, said. “We should have more program depth than I’ve had since I’ve been here.”

Follow Adam on Twitter: twitter.com/adunivan24