You can’t really tell from the picture that we chose, but when the folks at USA Today Images get more familiar with freshman Myles Turner, you’ll probably already know how disruptive the seven-footer is around the basket.
Turner, the number two recruit in the nation according to ESPN, officially committed to Rick Barnes and Texas on Wednesday, choosing to stay closer to home over Duke, and now Big 12 rivals Oklahoma State and Kansas.
As excited as Turner, of Bedford, Texas, is to be a part of the same basketball program as his favorite NBA player, Kevin Durant, I’d imagine Barnes and the rest of Austin are even more excited, as they’re getting an absolute game changer on the defensive end of the basket. Turner’s the best big man prospect that Texas has landed since Tristan Thompson in 2010, and the first REALLY big man to be excited about – sorry Dexter Pittman – since Chris Mihm.
Like Mihm, Turner has an impressive jumper, showing the ability to knock down mid-range and even step behind the three-point arc, which who knows, could wind up boding extremely well with the dribble drive attack of Isaiah Taylor and Javan Felix. Despite playing their best when they went with smaller lineups last season, you can’t ignore how much of a difference it’ll make to have a guy with Turner’s size, athleticism, and superior ability to clean up the glass and protect the paint.
On the defensive end they might be a little clunky together, but offensively I’d have to imagine that combining Turner with Cameron Ridley will give every single team in the nation fits. Whereas Turner’s most effective facing up and stepping out of the paint, Ridley’s an old school big who throws his weight around and flourishes in finishing around the basket. Neither of these two players are offensive juggernauts, but we already expected the Longhorns to have one of the better backcourts in the country, adding Turner to their frontcourt gives them one of the better teams in the country.
Don’t expect Turner to be Blake Griffin or Anthony Davis, heck I don’t even know if he can come close to giving Texas the kind of production that Joel Embiid gave Kansas this past season, but he has the size and the upside to be one of the most special players in the country this season. I’m expecting there to be a little bit of a learning curve, but whatever Turner lacks in weight and experience he makes up for in length, and you’re going to be amazed by how long and effective this kid can be.
I’m not saying Texas is back, but the Big 12 should definitely take notice after this signing.