Greenburg Central Catholic competitor Tyree Turner named TribLive Westmoreland boys athlete of the year

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Saturday, June 29, 2024 | 11:01 AM


While he lives in Indiana, Tyree Turner often feels more like a Greensburg kid because he spent so much time in and around the city.

It’s tough to argue that he hasn’t been the face of Greensburg Central Catholic basketball and football, and a key player in baseball, for the better part of four years.

“A lot of people forget I still live (in Indiana),” Turner said. “They see me and say, ‘You’re still here?’ I tell them, ‘I never left.’ But I spent so much time in Greensburg. A long drive every day.”

GCC is sad to see the TribLive Westmoreland boys athlete of the year go.

Turner completed a high school career that was as productive as it was successful with a memorable senior season.

He made the playoffs in all three of his sports, leading GCC to a WPIAL 2A runner-up finish in basketball as a high-scoring point guard, a first-round win in football as a quarterback and defensive back and another postseason victory as third baseman and pitcher on the diamond.

“You don’t get a lot of time to reflect because you’re done with one season and on to the next,” he said. “But this past year was pretty special. There was a lot of winning. You can’t take that for granted.”

Norwin senior Luke Denny, a football standout and WPIAL track champion, also was considered for the county’s top athlete.

Turner, who committed to play basketball at John Carroll, said he has no regrets as he looks back on his career. The 2023-24 year holds a special place on his mantle.

“Losing sucks, but we had a great run (in basketball) and a great season,” he said. “That was a special group of guys.

“I think about the great year we had in football my junior year, and making it to the Pete (this year) was great. We didn’t get to go there my freshman year when we played at Peters Township.”

Basketball gets most of Turner’s affection.

He averaged 21 points, 7.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.6 steals as GCC went 24-4 before falling to Aliquippa in the WPIAL final.

“He is obviously so talented in each sport he plays, but I think what makes him so successful in each is his ability and desire to compete,” GCC basketball coach Christian Hyland said. “At the high school level, he is the best competitor I’ve seen. When you pair his talent with that competitive mindset, it’s no surprise he’s had the career he has had at GCC on the field and court. A great athlete, an even better person. I’m extremely proud of him. He is going to do awesome things.”

Centurions football coach John Thompson concurs.

“It’s his athleticism, versatility, intelligence and toughness,” Thompson said. “His ultra-competitiveness, love for the game and unselfishness, him taking time after every practice and working with his teammates and the smile he always brought to the field.”

Turner guided the big-play football team to an 8-4 season, throwing for 1,584 yards and 18 touchdowns and rushing for 684 yards and 12 TDs.

He made 51 tackles and had six interceptions on defense and also caught six passes, one for a score.

GCC beat West Greene before falling to South Side Beaver in the Class A quarters.

In baseball, Turner moved from the outfield to third base and also delivered some quality innings as a pitcher.

He hit .367/.436/.469 with three doubles, nine runs scored and 13 RBIs.

“Baseball was probably the biggest surprise,” he said. “It was so much fun.”

GCC baseball coach John Boyle said it is Turner’s commitment to winning that made him such a good three-sport athlete.

“It doesn’t matter if we are competing in a playoff game or a drill in practice, Tyree wants to win,” Boyle said. “I haven’t seen such a fierce competitor in a long time. I watched him compete on the football field and basketball court, and he brings that same fierce desire to win there, too.”

Boyle drew a comparison to one of the NFL’s best players.

“No one makes the charging, off-balance throw on a slow roller more routinely and spectacularly than Tyree,” the coach said. “The QB/infield skills are reminiscent of a certain Kansas City Chiefs QB.”

There are worse athletes than Patrick Mahomes in which to draw comparison.

Boyle’s son, Wade, plays golf at John Carroll, “So I have an excuse to go watch (Turner) play at the next level,” he said.

Turner said he wants GCC fans to remember him as a winner — in more ways than one.

“I want to be known as a leader and a good role model,” he said. “The athletic stuff is great, but at the end of the day, character is what’s important.”

Bill Beckner Jr. is a TribLive reporter covering local sports in Westmoreland County. He can be reached at bbeckner@triblive.com.

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