BOZEMAN — Montana State's Eddie Turner III sets a new goal for himself every year. When he accomplishes it, he and his family celebrate the milestone.
Some of those achievements include an Ivy League degree from Columbia University, a coveted internship at BofA Securities, Inc. (formerly Bank of America Merrill Lynch), and his decision to transfer and play basketball for the Bobcats this year.
But behind the immense success academically, professionally and athletically is a deep level of hardship he's had to overcome. Instead of letting the adversity write his story, Turner has used it as fuel.
After graduating from Columbia in the spring, Turner worked last summer as an investment banking intern for BofA Securities in New York City. He had to commit to an opportunity that young adults across the country desire, while remaining focused on his basketball training.
"I worked from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m. and took the train home for an hour and then did my training for this team," Turner explained. "You know, one hour to 45 minutes at midnight. I had a membership to 24 Hour Fitness. I was in there lifting in my suit.
"People were looking at me crazy, but just taking that 45 minutes, it built up, and it stacked. It’s paying dividends while I’m here on the basketball team."
Turner had to fit that training into his schedule because he wouldn't be able to join the team at Montana State until August after finishing his internship.
Bobcats coach Matt Logie didn’t think twice about letting Turner stay in New York for his job. In fact, his knowledge and experience in different facets of life are among Logie’s favorite parts about him.
"He’s as comfortable talking to his peers as he is talking to an alumni who’s an architect or somebody in the engineering school. He’s just someone who’s very worldly and well-versed, and easy to relate to a lot of different people because of that," Logie said.
Logie’s investment in his players' futures and Turner’s hard work have paid off. Turner received a full-time job offer from the Bank which starts next summer.
They had to limit the full-time offers for his intern class from 90% to just under 50% due to the impacts to the economy since COVID-19, but he outworked those around him to earn one of the coveted spots.
"These are nine of the smartest people from the smartest schools with a lot of advantages growing up, you know, and a lot of help," Turner said. "So, I had to compete almost like I was a basketball player just to come out on top."
Turner has been self-reliant since the age of 14.
"I just kind of built the muscle of you have to focus, you have to take a walk, you have to go take the bus somewhere, because you’re not going to eat or you’re not going to train in basketball," Turner said. "You know, I just carried my basketball with me. I had a bag with me. You know, I had everything I needed with me."
And just last season while at Columbia, his father suffered a stroke, so Turner stepped away from the game for the season to go home and take care of his family.
"My dad means everything to me," Turner said. "I have a twin sister, and my dad took care of us. With my dad going out and me stepping into that role, it just feels better than playing basketball. My dad laid the foundation for me to take over. I’ll do everything I can to make sure they have the best life that they can."
While most people look at those adversities he faced as disadvantages in life, Turner’s ability to overcome them has given him the ability to keep pushing toward his ultimate goals.
"One of my mentors told me that I didn’t have the odds stacked against me, because I had the muscle of going the extra mile when other people would have burnt out," he explained. "And that’s usually the advantage to everyone I’ve seen be successful — the X factor is how far are they willing to basically take themselves."
Because of injuries, a season canceled to COVID-19 and coming to his family’s aid during his father’s health scare, Turner played in only 18 games while at Columbia.
But now he’s one of the key pieces in the next chapter of Bobcat basketball in this Logie era.
"He was looking for an opportunity to get a fresh start," Logie said, "someone and some place that believed in his abilities and will give him that opportunity despite such limited statistics and limited film from various adversities he faced during his time at Columbia."
On the surface, Turner is a student-athlete who accomplishes his lofty goals with a smile that beams ear to ear.
Most wouldn’t guess the amount of sacrifice and hardships he has simultaneously battled through to achieve them.
"I just figured out that success and winning means a lot to me versus, I guess, quality of life," Turner said. "I just figured that if I could make the sacrifices and I can create a better situation for my family, then it’s worth it."
He’ll never quit. In fact, he’ll always find a way to win.