Myles Turner goes in-depth on recruiting

He was the prospect who gained the most from a big time summer performance, going from unranked to the top five in the class of 2014 in just a few months. Now, Myles Turner has his pick from high major programs including Duke. We spoke with Turner at length to find out the latest in his recruitment.

Note: This conversation took place with both Myles Turner and his father, David. All answers are Myles unless noted

Your dad mentioned about the fire that woke you up at your hotel this morning around 4AM?

Myles Turner: Well I'm all rested up now but it definitely deprived me of some rest then. I'm all good now though. They were getting prepared for breakfast, it was probably 4:45 or 5:00 in the morning or so, and the stove caught fire in the kitchen and they had to evacuate everybody. I heard the alarm when I was asleep, I thought I was having a dream, the fire marshal was knocking on my door and  I got up and got out of there. It was crazy.

Aside from that, how did the visit to New York go for you?

Oh man, it was awesome, that was my first time there, it was cool seeing a different city, with a whole different culture in a whole new area geographically for me, it was a big difference, it was real cool, a good first time.

Did you get to meet any new players?

Yeah I got to hang out some with Carlton Bragg, he was real cool, I enjoyed meeting him. I also hung out a bit with Stephen Zimmerman too.

On a national stage you blew up and are now being discussed as a possible number one pick in a few years, and you are in the top group of your class rankings wise. How have you managed the new expectations?

I just really look at it as fun, you know? I've been working towards this for a very long time, and I've just tried to be myself. It's been fun seeing how all my hard work has paid off. With the hype, I've never really been into that, and it's really cool to be noticed, but as far as the hype, I just always try to play my own game and do what it takes to win.

What were your favorite match-ups this summer in the various settings you competed in and what did you learn about yourself as a person and a player this summer?

Everything for me started down at the beginning of the summer down in Houston, at the IceBreaker, that's where I told myself that I'm going to go and dominate, I wasn't as dominant as I wanted to be last summer, so I told myself this is my last summer as a high school player, I just want to leave it all out there. Everything was mental, I could tell myself that I could be dominant whenever I wanted to.

As far as match-ups goes, it was really fun going up against Jahlil Okafor, he's such a big, strong guy with great skills. Going up against him at this level, I know I'll be a lot more like him at the next level, so going up against him now was helpful, it was perfect. Going up against a man like him and like Cliff Alexander, those were two of my favorite match-ups this summer.

Who has given you the best advice this summer, either on or off the court?

Really just don't let all this attention get to your head. Like you mentioned earlier with the hype, it's amazing that the coaches take time out of their day and express interest in you, but you can't let it get to your head because there's some people who get too big-headed about it. No matter who talks to you, you just gotta keep going.

Have your expectations changed reference your role, potential impact and length of stay in college over the course of this summer?

I think it is a bit, I think the expectations did rise for others, but the only expectation I can live up to are my own, a lot of people are going to tell me certain things about me to try and stop me in certain ways, but the only expectations I worry about are the ones I put on myself. I'm expecting to lead my team to a state championship this year, I'm expecting to just be the greatest competitor I can be this year, I'm expecting to be a member of the McDonald's All American Game because that's been a goal of mine, those are the only real expectations that I worry about.

Before all this blew up, you discussed recognizing that you might need to spend some time in college developing so you can be ready to go pro, has that mindset changed now?

A little bit, if I'm projected at any time to be a lottery pick or to go first round, I'm going to be asked to leave, so like I said the expectations that I put on myself are that I want to grow as a player and of course I want to get my degree, if I were to be blessed to be in a position to go one and done, I'd come back to get my degree. It really depends on how my development goes.

Following up on the development front, do you feel like your college development can only be complete if you are the main featured guy in a program, or can you also complete that development while not being a featured guy, but playing alongside other really talented players from your class?

I'm not a selfish guy in any way, I can see myself playing with other really talented players. Going up against guys like Jahlil this summer, teaming up with them would be kind of cool. Not saying that from the aspect of that being action or anything, but like playing with other talented people, the whole team can help each other.

Paring your list down to a top eight, what caused you go down relatively quickly down to a top eight after naming a Top 25?

Really, I did a whole bunch of research on all the Top 25 schools. People might now believe me on that, but anytime I had free time, anytime I was at a tournament and had a break from it, I would go to a school's website and research it, so I did my homework.

Were these top eight the top eight all along you think in your estimation?

I wouldn't say that, I liked schools like Marquette, Stanford, I never had a favorite or favorites from the beginning.

So what caused those eight schools to make the cut?

Things stood out to me about each school The coaches, for one. The head coaches really stood out to me like Bill Self or Coach Krzyzewski, Coach Sean Miller, all those coaches stood out to me including how all their personalities were a little bit different, their overall approach to things was different. Talking with them on the phone, I was able to get to know them a little bit.

Mr. Turner: Getting to that top eight wasn't easy either, it was very difficult.

I agree with that, it's hard to let some of them go because you build great relationships with these guys.

Can you both take me inside the family deliberations as you were figuring out the top eight?

Mr. Turner: People won't believe the research that Myles did. Like if I brought up a question about a college, Myles had this NBA binder, or notebook I should say. In the notebook, he has notes about each school, so the questions I had were specifically academically related. Would he be academically challenged where he goes. Basketball wise, what kind of system does a school run, that's what put a few of those schools in the top eight because they run an open type of system, where he can really flourish. That's his game I think I don't want him stuck in a system where he has to go there and just play one type of position. Myles is a stretch 4/5, he could even play the 3 I think, so he needs to be challenged in that way. The schools we looked at, we looked at that also. Myles all in all did his homework on the schools though, some of the stuff he had even made me scratch my head like with demographics of a school, diversity of it, and we haven't even taken a visit yet and he's already got all this knowledge. When we do take our visits, he's armed with a pre-cursor before we even go in.

In the period where you were evaluating going to the top eight, were you having a lot of dialogue with the coaches that ultimately became the top eight?

Yes and no. Most schools I had, so schools like Kentucky I didn't have a whole bunch of talk with them but schools like Texas or Oklahoma State or Ohio State or Arizona, we just had a whole bunch of dialogue with them here and there with most of the schools, but not all of them.

What merited the other schools who made your top eight that you didn't have a lot of dialogue with them during that period that you did with other schools you just mentioned to make the cut? What was it about those other schools?

Well, a program like a Kentucky or Duke, those programs really speak for themselves with what they have done in the past. Even coaches like Coach K or Coach Calipari, they just kinda speak for themselves with what they've done. I kinda went based off their past success a little bit and what they've been able to do with past players that are like myself in ways. Independent research really also helped.

How much dialogue have you personally had with Coach Self, Coach Calipari and Coach K?

Well, Coach Calipari talked to my dad and parents a lot. I know his approach to things, he's not going to bother me a lot. He told me straight up, I'm 50 years old Myles, what are we going to talk about 5 times out of the week, 7 days a week. I'm going to call you here and there, but I'm going to speak to your parents, I kinda liked his approach to that. With Coach K, he'll send me a text message every now and then, he understands that I'm a kid and I have to live my own life as far as outside of college stuff.

Do all of the top eight schools have the Counseling Psychology program you've mentioned before wanting to major in at college?

Yeah they do, Texas is probably the highest ranked one out of all my top eight schools, they are a flight Psychology program, I think they are ranked like 18 or 19 in the world in Psychology. A lot of the schools had it, but some of the schools are just top notch schools, but it's a Division 1 school, so there's not too much I can take away from it.

Percentage wise, how much priority do you put on academics with your decision?

I'd say probably about 55%, I don't want to go below 50%, education I think is very important because when the ball stops bouncing you gotta be able to keep going, but at the same time to keep the ball bouncing, you have to develop at your own pace, so I'd say it's about 55%.

Myles, how much are you paying attention to where the other top bigs in your class are projected to go-is that a big part of your decision?

Yeah honestly I am. I can say that. Seeing like Jahlil leaning towards more like a Duke or seeing Cliff lean towards Kansas, or Karl Towns going to Kentucky, I have been paying attention to that.

Have you had any discussions with any of those guys reference where they are potentially favoring?

Not really.

Since you are signing in the spring, what happens if a school in your top eight takes a commitment from a top big in your class during the November signing period?

I think I'd take a step back and look at it, but I don't think it affects things too much. I definitely  look at things like if Jahlil were to go to Duke so to say, I would kind of still look at all my options, but it wouldn't eliminate them right away.

But it would be a source of concern for you?

I could say that, it would be a little bit of a concern, yes.

It sounds like it's important to you to be that featured post guy wherever you go, is that fair?

I think I'd need to be respected, I would say that. I wouldn't want to be a second option, and I do think I'd need to be respected, I would put it that way.

Mr. Turner: He could play with a dominant post, like if him and Jahlil were to go to school together, it could happen where they could play together, so it's not a matter of him having to be the featured guy, but like he said, he doesn't want to play second fiddle to anybody. You never want to be anybody's backup.

There's a lot of recruiting conjecture as to what would happen if guys like Jahlil or Cliff commit to schools under consideration by Myles, does Myles want to play alongside them or chart his own course…

I can say that yes because going up against people like them everyday in practice, it would better myself as a player every day. That is one way I could say I could see myself doing that, playing alongside them.

Is it a firm commitment for you that you are waiting until the spring to sign, Myles?

Yes sir, I'm planning on signing in the spring. I might verbally commit somewhere towards  the middle of my season, but I'm definitely not going to sign until the late signing period.

When do you think the potential verbal commit is likely to come for you in your process?

Mr. Turner: We're not putting any time limit on it, he could run with a commit as soon as he's comfortable with a school. If it's December, January, whenever he's comfortable, that's when it will be.

What were the big reasons for you in deciding to wait until the spring to sign?

I think one thing was missing last summer and not being able to catch up on visits and with the interest too, not everybody was looking at me then.

Mr. Turner: Yeah, there were a couple more local schools who I call having good vision were involved, but now he's on this bigger stage, he needs to go through this period.

How much does a program's public perception and attention, whether it be with the media, with coaches, with fans, etc, how much does that play into your consideration of a program?

Not too much. I need to get used to playing in front of a lot of media, on a big stage, I don't think it'll play too much of a role. Like with Kansas, where the media, it's crazy with media outlets, that's not a big consideration with me.

Since you mentioned Kansas, the recent media reports indicated an official visit is setup there and it's possible you'll go to a top three sometime after that. How important is it to you after the Kansas visit is done for you to visit other schools before going down to the top three, if that occurs?

I would agree with that, I would definitely try and take visits, I hear that people never really take all five of their visits most times. If I'm able to do all five that would be great, and I'm definitely going to visit all these other schools as well. Now as far as putting it into a top three, that was only an idea that I had pitched out. If I choose a school out of that top eight and I want to commit, then I will choose it whether I'm narrowed down or not. Choosing the top three would mainly be for time constraints, if I don't want to leave other schools lingering with me.

What's the potential timeframe for getting to that point?

If I were to go and try to get to a top three, I would definitely try and do it before this year is over because they have to start recruiting the 2015 class, and definitely the 2016 class by the time this year is over.

With seven schools to pick from after Kansas for four remaining official visits, what's the deciding factors for you with who to take official visits with versus who to visit unofficially?

I think I would visit a school like Texas unofficially since it's so close, and I can get all the information I need within a two or three hour drive. OSU is the same way and possibly Arizona, I think distance will determine the official visits.

Is there anybody out of your top eight that is the least likely to receive either an official or unofficial visit from you Myles?

Mr. Turner: They are all going to get a visit. This was a hard decision to get to a top eight, so out of respect for all of them, we want to go visit them and research all of them. It's a thing with Myles missing all of last year, this is all new to all of us, I'm not sure if there's any particular decorum I guess, we had to cut the list out of respect for the coaches so that they don't have to hang on and they can move on and start recruiting others. And Myles again, he's getting a lot of calls, so hopefully this helps him focus on schools and his and his teammates goal of getting to Austin and competing for a state championship.

There's been lots of questions from fans about what sparked your interest to have the Kansas visit first; is that indicative of a strong interest in Kansas?

I've liked Kansas for awhile, but they've never really been the favorite. I just liked everything they'd done and I really wanted to see the Allen Field House for myself, I think that was a big factor in it, and I like what they've done with traditions, so that's what went into it.

Mr. Turner: Yeah, he's already had some unofficial visits to different schools already and a school like Kentucky, they got involved late, so we're in the process of setting up some in-home visits with Kentucky and some with Texas, so that's how we move forward into the officials, maybe even having those before the Kansas visit on the 4th, October 4th is the Kansas official visit.

It sounds like you are targeting September for in-home visits, is that correct?

Yes sir, that's correct. September 9th or 11th or something like that is the Texas one I believe, whatever that Wednesday is, I think it's the 19th, I can't remember for sure. Coach Calipari asked for an in-home too, but I'm not sure of the exact date, it's sometime in the middle of September.

Has every school in the top eight asked for an in-home visit?

It's been a few, Texas, Duke, Kentucky, Oklahoma State asked for an in-home and a campus visit.

With Duke, have they tried to setup both an in-home and campus visit?

Yes, Coach Nate James is trying to set that up for Coach K and Coach Calipari has asked for one and Texas has too.

Has Coach K been the primary person talking with you from the Duke staff, or has it remained Coach Nate James during the recruitment?

Mr. Turner: It's a mix, Coach James and Coach K, they are both in contact with us.

Can you take me through the Duke offer, when did it happen, how did it get communicated; and just any particulars you can share?

We had been talking with Coach Nate James for awhile, he had seen me play in Minnesota, that was late April I think. Then we started talking for a little bit and he told me that we are definitely going to be looking at you, we like the things you do and he also pointed out some things I could work on, which I respected that because he was right. Then he told me they are recruiting Jahlil, but they definitely like me too, and that kind of, I kinda shied away a little bit because they had mentioned that their main target was Jahlil, and they kinda preferred him over me, but then the summer went a long and they saw me play again and he was like, "Oh wow, we think you and Jahlil could play together". I was like "ok that makes sense", but at the same time I was like "well, that seemed a bit shaky". But then Coach K called me himself and he re-assured me with everything. Like I said, I never want to be a priority over other people but Coach K called me one day and he offered me a scholarship like right after one of my practices, that was in early May.

What did Coach K say about how they wanted to move forward with you after the offer?

He said "I've heard a lot of great things about you, I can't wait to watch you play in July, and then he said, I want to offer you a scholarship to Duke University", and he said it just like that, and then he said "I think you are perfect for our system, there's a lot of things that you do that fits what we do, I really think I can help you get to the next level," just stuff like that.

What kind of questions did you pose to him?

I asked him if they were going to get that package deal of Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor, and Justise Winslow and about how it would work for me to have a scholarship since they only have a certain number of scholarships. I asked him about that and he re-assured me that all in good time, you for sure, you'd be fine, you'd still be able to go. I also asked him about the thing of Jahlil being a priority, he kinda re-assured me that they think me and Jahlil could work together, those were the two main areas that I asked him about.

What did you think about the responses he gave to your questions?

I think it was pretty accurate as far as me and Jahlil, for starters. We're two different positions, we're two different body frames, I think he can be more of a five and I can be more of a four, and we complement each other's games pretty well I think. As far as the scholarships situation, he said they will make it work somehow, some way if I want to come to Duke University.

Mr. Turner: There's no concerns there, he presented it correctly, I felt. I mean, that would be a heck of a front line. Jahlil is a special type of player and Myles is a special type of player, any school that has that kind of a front line is going to go far.

Do you think Myles can be all he wants to be as a player while playing alongside another talented big?

Mr. Turner: Absolutely. Myles is going to keep developing, we talked about the hype earlier and the one thing Myles has done is he's worked for everything he's gotten. I've witnessed it, I've taken him to all those practices, I wasn't out there in the 30 degree weather when he was running the track trying to get better, when he was lifting weights, trying to get stronger, he was in the weight room because it was a commitment on his part to get better, to get stronger. Over the summer he's put on 30 pounds of muscle, he's up from 190 to 225, he's working hard and he's not done. He just turned 17, and he's still growing. Once he stops going vertical, the mass is going to come on and he'll fill out no matter what program he goes to.

Is it the ideal situation for Myles to play alongside Jahlil or Cliff or another talented big in his class, or is it a better situation for his development for him to be on his own and set his course?

Mr. Turner: Wherever Myles goes, he ‘s going to set his own course, whether he's playing with a guy like Jahlil or not or another notable big. Myles has been, in my opinion, and this is the dad in me, everywhere he's gone he's been overlooked, so, and he's always had to prove himself, that's what he's used to, so when he gets to college, I don't see it being any different. When you are as competitive as he is and you want to win like he does, it's going to speak for itself, so no matter where he goes or who he plays with, his game is going to speak for itself.

Going back to the Duke scheduling for visits, have they offered any specific dates to consider for either the in-home or on-campus visit?

Mr. Turner: No, they have not yet. He's kinda waiting for Myles to get done with his summer, he still has a few things left like he's going down for the Elite 24, we're leaving for New York on the 21st and I think the game is on the 24th, and then once that's over with, we're going to kinda shut Myles down a little bit so we can figure out where the final visits will be.  Myself and Myles's mom, we're going to sit down and pick the brain of his AAU coaches and his high school coaches and then we're going to try and make some decisions.

Myles: Yeah, right when I get back, I start school the next day.

Are there still a lot of unanswered questions left to be addressed with the college coaches before you pare down the list or take your visits?

I think so. I think on all my visits I'll have some. I think I'd ask certain things about the program like what are your plans for me over the next couple of years, what would their weight program be for me, what would be their overall specific plan for me. How would I be able to help the program, I ask questions like that, only even more detailed about it.

The plans that you are asking the colleges to share about their vision for you, are you asking to see if their vision lines up with what you already have in mind, or do you more ask for their plans to see what they think and then evaluate it after that to see how you feel about their vision for you?

It's more to listen to what they say and then evaluate it. I want to see what their plans are for me and then evaluate it.

Is there any consideration to having a big media presence in either the family deliberations or the announcement?

As far as the media, I would say that this has always been about me, my family, my inner circle, so I think I'm going to keep it that way.

Will the verbal commitment be a big event for you?

I've put some consideration into that, not too many people come out of my school for basketball, so I want to try and give my school some notoriety, I've talked with some people at ESPN, maybe do  a little Recruiting Nation on camera at my school on TV. I'm only going to do this once, so if I can do that and it helps my school for basketball, that's good, especially since it's a big football school.  

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