June 15, 2013

As Turner's stock soars, Kentucky takes note

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Kansas has been involved. Arizona and Oklahoma State, too. For some time now, Myles Turner has been drawing the attention of some of college basketball's biggest names.

But drawing new attention never gets old. And so as the 6-foot-11 Turner's stock starts to skyrocket, he's relishing the piqued interest of programs like Kentucky and Duke, relative newcomers to his recruitment.

"Going through this whole process has been fun, of course," Turner said this week at the National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp. "But just knowing that you have those high-major schools coming at you, I guess it motivates me a bit more."

Clearly, something's sparked Turner, the No. 78 player in the current 2014 Rivals150, but due for a bump when the rankings next are updated.

The four-star forward from Euless, Texas, turned heads this week at Virginia, where he'd averaged 12.4 points and 4.8 rebounds through Saturday morning's games, showing a range of skills.

Turner swatted shots and altered others; he ran the floor. Turner even showed off a newly expanded perimeter game that stretches to the three-point line.

"I think my skill set's definitely an improvement," Turner said. "I've really been attacking more. Instead of letting things come to me, I've been going at it and attacking more."

That all-around game and newfound aggressiveness have caught the eye of many a college coach, and Kentucky's staff is no exception. UK assistant coaches have been in touch via text message, Turner said, and his father spoke last week with Wildcats head coach John Calipari.

"They said they've had their eye on me," Turner said. "They haven't really been able to see me play very much, but they're definitely going to watch me in July, and that's pretty much all they said. They're really going to be watching me, stepping up their recruitment in July."

Turner's certainly open to overtures from Kentucky. He's well aware of the program's pedigree.

"I think tradition," Turner said. "That's the first thing that pops in my head. I know (Kentucky's) tradition is excellent, and I think it's just a great program."

He's hearing from Duke as well, along with a long list of previously involved schools. Turner hopes to take unofficial visits to Kansas, Arizona and Oklahoma State this fall and said he's likely to give the Cowboys an official visit as well.

He has a specific set of criteria as the recruiting process heats up.

Though he's been told to jump at a one-and-done opportunity if it exists, he hasn't given it much thought, he said. For now, he's shopping for a school that offers a mix of athletic and academic opportunities.

"Definitely I want to be developed, of course, go to the NBA," Turner said. "That's been my dream for a long time. Anywhere I feel can develop me the most, that's where I'm going to go. Education; as cliché as that sounds, education is very important to me. I really want to major in either counseling or psychology, or counseling psychology. That seems to be a new major. And just a close relationship with my teammates. I have a real tight family circle here. I want a family away from home."

He's willing to look all over for that family. Though schools like Kentucky are recent arrivals in his recruitment, Turner said he's willing to give every program a fair shake.

"I'm wide open to anybody," Turner said. "I never shut a school out. No matter what the name, no matter what the tradition, I'm just open to everybody right now. I really appreciate everything that's going on. I respect every school that comes to me."



 

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