While the Duke basketball world waits with bated breath for Jabari Parker’s NBA decision, it is worth pointing out that the Blue Devils will still be among the best teams in the country next season either way because of Mike Krzyzewski’s incredible recruiting.
Duke has the No. 1 class in the country for 2014, per 247Sports, and the best part may be that it isn’t even done yet.
Myles Turner is the crown jewel of remaining uncommitted prospects, and Duke is fighting for his services alongside the likes of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU and even Ohio State.
Andrew Baker of 6Sports in Lawrence lets fans know that Turner will decide his immediate future on April 30:
Turner is a 5-star center who checks in at 6’10” and 223 pounds. He is the No. 2-ranked center and No. 4-ranked player in the country, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, so his ultimate decision will certainly impact the final class ratings.
Turner’s biggest strength is his defensive presence. Thanks to his length, athleticism and height, he swats shots with regularity, attacks the glass and alters attempts at the rim. He has proven throughout his final high school season that he is capable of shutting down the nation’s best interior scorers, which should be particularly appealing to a Duke team that struggled on the defensive side this year.
What’s more, Turner can shoot from mid-range and even occasionally from behind the three-point line, and he is gradually developing a low-post offensive attack.
He could add some more strength in comparison to some of the other elite centers in this class, but he will certainly have the chance to do that at a major college program.
Assessing Duke’s chances to land Turner’s services requires taking a look at some of the competing schools. For one, Ohio State has to be considered a long shot at this point, especially after Anthony Lee and Trevor Thompson both transferred there recently. The Buckeyes already have Amir Williams as well, and if we are working under the assumption that Turner is a one-and-done player, that is a crowded frontcourt (even though Turner would be the most talented one).
Perhaps Texas could play a role. After all, the Longhorns are close to his Euless home, and he models his game after a certain Texas product, via Jamie Cooper of Dime Magazine (h/t Erik Horne of The Oklahoman):
Kevin Durant is my favorite player, he’s always been my favorite player since he was at Texas, and that’s where I’m from. It’s huge. I’ve always admired him, and I always wanna try to kind of be like him. I’m a couple inches taller, but I’ve always wanted to try to do some the things he does, on and off the court.
Still, the most important development for Duke’s chances at landing Turner in terms of other schools was when Joel Embiid decided to enter the NBA draft.
Embiid’s departure opens up the center position for Kansas immediately. The 247Sports crystal ball predictions heavily favor the Jayhawks in the Turner race, and Bill Self has been in on his recruitment from the early going.
Speaking of those 247Sports predictions, Duke appears to be the ultimate long shot and checks in at two percent in the poll results (Kansas leads at 51 percent). The centerpiece of Coach K’s tremendous class is the nation’s top-rated prospect, Jahlil Okafor, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and it would be harder to impress NBA scouts and front offices in that presumed one season if they were playing alongside each other.
Durham is also much farther away from Turner’s home than the likes of SMU, Texas and Kansas, which will likely at least play a small role in his decision.
Simply put, the chances that Duke receives a commitment from Turner are very slim.
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