Only one high-profile college basketball program could have highly coveted 5-star center Myles Turner, and on Wednesday, the Trinity High School star committed to Texas.
Evan Daniels of Scout.com was first to report the news, which gives a massive boost to the Longhorns' 2014 recruiting class:
Myles Turner commits to Texas.— Evan Daniels (@EvanDaniels) April 30, 2014
Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports was quick to praise coach Rick Barnes:
Rick Barnes reminded us all last season that he didn't forget how to coach. He obviously didn't forget how to recruit either.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) April 30, 2014
Turner rates as the No. 2 center in the country and the fourth-ranked prospect overall, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. At 6'10" and only 223 pounds, the young phenom has plenty of room to fill out and become even more dominant as he ascends toward his apex as a player.
What stands out most about Turner is that he not only has guard-like skills in terms of ball-handling, but also enough range to be a jump-shooting threat. Oh, and he averaged 8.7 blocks to go with 16.7 points and 12.8 rebounds per game during his senior campaign, per his 247Sports profile.
There is little to knock about the prodigy's game, and his athleticism and tireless motor are the type of tangibles that will help him reach his high ceiling. The lack of strength is something that can be addressed in the weight room, and it's scary to fathom how much of a force Turner would be with even 15 more pounds of muscle.
Bleacher Report national college basketball lead writer Jason King published an in-depth feature on Turner on Feb. 12. He talked with former NBA coach John Lucas, who has been training Turner two weekends per month and had great things to say:
He’s a program-changer. He can play anything from guard to center, and coaches will love him because of his work ethic. He listens. He wants to get better. I’m not sure we’ll see everything he has to offer while he’s in college because of all the zones and double teams he’ll face. But once he gets to play with a little freedom, he has the tools to be a star.
King also reports that two assistants who were involved in pursuing Turner had nothing but good things to say, with one noting that he and his family are "great people, very respectful, very genuine." The piece also gives a glimpse into Turner's mindset after a game.
"The key for me is not to be satisfied," said Turner. "You can’t let (the hype) get to you mentally. A lot of people would stop working because they’d think they’ve made it. They’d take days off. I never let that really faze me. I know I still have a lot of work to do."
Who will be the better center?
That's some pretty strong testimony, and it gives an indication of the type of unique versatility that Turner will bring to the hardwood. It should make him one of the most compelling prospects to watch in the years to come. Having someone like Kevin Durant as his favorite player and role model is a good place to start.
Even if he's a one-and-done at the college level like Durant was, Turner has all the physical tools and seems to have the mental makeup to handle and thrive in the spotlight when he eventually progresses to the NBA.
Also interesting to monitor is how Turner's development compares to that of fellow 5-star center Jahlil Okafor, who's committed to Duke and was rated ahead of Turner in 247Sports' composite rankings.
In any event, the Longhorns will be getting a frontcourt stud in Turner who should shine immediately as a true freshman and bolster their chances of a deep NCAA tournament run. As Lucas implied, that's the type of program-changing player Turner has the talent to be. Especially with the dearth of skilled big men at both the college and pro levels in modern times, look for Turner to impose his will and dominate from Day 1 as he attempts to separate himself from the rest of the pack.