Who’s Got Next? Myles Turner Stays Local With Texas CommitmentPosted by Sean Moran on May 2nd, 2014
Who’s Got Next? is a weekly column by Sean Moran, the RTC recruiting guru. Once a week he will bring you an overview of what’s going on in the complex world of recruiting, from who is signing where among the seniors to discussing the recruitment of the top uncommitted players in the country. We also encourage you to check out his contributions at The Intentional Foul dedicated to recruiting coverage and analysis. You can also follow Sean at his Twitter account @Seanmohoops for up-to-date news from the high school and college hoops scene. If you have any suggestions as to areas we are missing or different things you would like to see, please let us know at email@example.com.
Five-star center Myles Turner committed to Texas earlier this week on ESPNU, a surprising outcome given that just one year ago Rick Barnes was on the coaching hot seat in Austin and Turner wasn’t even considered a top 100 recruit. After a successful 2013-14 season that ended in the NCAA Tournament, however, Barnes is back in the good graces of the Longhorns faithful, and Turner has risen to become the No. 5 recruit in the county.
When Turner entered high school he stood at only 6’2”, but after growing steadily throughout his four years he entered the spring AAU circuit in 2013 as a relatively unknown seven-foot commodity. It wasn’t long before his recruitment shot through the roof with almost every big name school expressing interest in the hottest young prospect in the Lone Star State. To his credit, Turner did not shy away from the challenge, as he picked off higher ranked players left and right in nearly every camp and tournament setting. After a strong senior season at Euless Trinity (TX) High School, Turner was selected to participate in the McDonald’s All-American game, the Nike Hoop Summit, and the Jordan Brand Classic. “It’s been a crazy journey,” he said, while in Chicago for the McDonald’s game. “I’ve been all over the country in the past year playing ball, but it’s been a great experience.”
After a lengthy recruitment, Turner was the last of this year’s five-star recruits to make a college decision. He chose the Longhorns over Kansas, Duke, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, SMU and Texas A&M. While Turner’s height classifies him as a center by position, he is a whole lot more than the position dictates. On the offensive end of the floor, Turner is comfortable from all areas — he can bang down low in the post for a short jump hook or a sweet turn-around shot off the glass. He also has range out to the three-point line and shoots a high percentage from 10 to 15 feet. The mobile big man can cover the floor well with his size 21 feet, and is an imposing presence on the defensive end with a 7’3.75” reach.
With schools from all over the country recruiting Turner, he decided to play just a three-hour drive away from home in Austin. Over the past year, Rick Barnes’ recruiting struggles have been very well-documented. A mass exodus of talented five-star prospects out-of-state led to severe criticism of the head coach although it was later revealed that many of these recruitments were situations the staff just wanted to steer clear of. The acquisition of Turner came at just the perfect time for Barnes, who may have revitalized his career with a surprising trip to the NCAA Tournament and an elite prospect to boot. An in-state player free of handlers and outside distractions was just what Barnes needed.
Turner played up the in-state angle during his press conference on Wednesday, saying, “Just watching Texas work last year, they are a real blue collar program. The only reason I’m here is through hard work. I feel like that’s what Texas has done and what they can do in the future. I really like their work ethic going forward. It was a great family atmosphere down there. To join these guys and hope for something special next year and I really believed it. Happy to be a Texan. Always been a Texan my whole life. There’s a lot of pride coming from the state of Texas and to stay in-state means a lot to me.”
Texas was going to be considered a top 10 or so team even before Turner announced, but with a full team returning — including big man Cameron Ridley and guards Isaiah Taylor and Jonathan Holmes — expectations will be very high in Austin. Turner will form a formidable front line with Ridley. On the defensive end, his length and size will add another shot-blocking presence down low. On the offensive end, he will be able to stretch the defense with his outside shooting, allowing Ridley the freedom to operate in the paint without a fear of constant double teams. A lot can change in a year, as both Barnes and Turner can attest to, but now the question becomes: What can Turner and Barnes do for an encore?