Ryan Turell, who is hoping to become the first Orthodox Jewish player in NBA history, made his professional debut Monday night during the Detroit Pistons G League affiliate Motor City Cruise’s home opener at Wayne State Fieldhouse against the Windy City Bulls.
Turell, who was drafted no. 27 overall by the Cruise in October’s G League draft, came onto the floor late in the game to loud applause and even louder cheers when he touched the ball during his first possession.
Ryan Turell has yet to see significant action for the Cruise so far in their young season, however if his debut is any indication on what Cruise fans and those at other G League arenas are hoping for, he will be a crowd favorite and source of inspiration for those watching the beginning of his career unfold in Detroit.
During his final season at Yeshiva University, Turell led college basketball in scoring across all divisions, averaging an astonishing 27 points per game during his senior year. He also led his team to an incomprehensible 50-game winning streak and top ranking within their division.
Turell is a true scorer, and conquered the level of basketball he played within during college, leading the Cruise to believe in his potential enough to make him a first round selection in this year’s G League draft.
The team is hoping to develop both Turell and fellow first round pick Tom Digbeu, allowing them some time to adjust to the higher level of play. The Cruise saw success last year during their inaugural season, and are hoping that the new pieces will help that success continue as well as develop new prospects for the Pistons organization.
In the case of Turell, how he got to this level and what he is trying to accomplish is certainly both historic and unique.
Detroit Pistons: Ryan Turell makes history in the G-League
As a practicing Orthodox Jew, Turell observes the Sabbath, which occurs each week from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night. During this time, he does not travel, cook or use technology. Obviously, this causes logistical challenges when being part of a professional sports organization. However, the Pistons and Cruise organizations are fully supportive of Turell’s practices. Per Kelsey Dallas of Deseret News, the organization has made special accommodations to ensure Turell’s needs are met, especially when they are on the road during Shabbat. This includes coordinating outside travel for Turell when the team is due to be on the move during the Sabbath.
Turell’s debut with the Cruise was the first hurdle and milestone within his historic career in professional basketball. While he has yet to see any scoring chances or opportunities for extended minutes, the entire basketball community is keeping an eye on Turell’s opportunity and development within the Pistons organization.
After seeing the love and support he did when he first stepped on the floor for the Cruise, the moment Turell records his first professional basket, and following milestones, will be truly special.
As for the Pistons, the organization is hoping that last year’s leading scorer in the collegiate ranks can develop that scoring power to be conducive at the highest level. While the leap from Yeshiva University to the G League and beyond is large, the Pistons are supporting Turell to have the best opportunity possible to develop and fulfill his dream of making history.