Bloomington – Try as he might, Spencer Turner can't always keep his mind off who's watching him from the stands.
Blame Cody Zeller for last week's distraction. Another coveted Class of 2011 recruiting target on Indiana Elite's 15-and-under team, Zeller couldn't help but point out who was watching Turner at last week's adidas "It Takes 5ive" event.
"Cody came over and said, ‘Look, there's Coach K,'" Turner said. "I said, ‘no, that's not him.' I finally realized it was him. Not many people can say Coach K is coming to their games, Joe Holladay from UNC or Matt Painter or Coach (Tom) Crean. It's really amazing."
There are a lot of people watching the sweet-shooting 6-3, 180-pound sophomore-to-be from Bloomington South H.S. these days. Indiana, Purdue, Duke, North Carolina, and Kansas were among the marquee programs that were taking in Turner's AAU games last week – and taken back by his skills.
As impressed as those coaches might be with him, Turner is equally awed by the thought those big-name schools are already jockeying for position to recruit him.
"It's awesome that they're coming to our games," Turner said. "It's a once in a lifetime chance to have college coaches come watch you play. I enjoy it."
They've been coming in droves to watch Turner, who averaged 9.7 points/game as a freshman at South H.S. while playing alongside IU-bound guard Jordan Hulls. College coaches have seen a player who is as gifted a shooter as you'll find at any level of AAU, someone who has range that extends well beyond the 3-point arc.
While his reputation has been built on his shooting ability, Turner's hope is he'll also gain recognition for other areas of his game.
"Everyone recognizes me as a spot-up shooter, but I want to be known for more than that," Turner said. "I want to be known as a guy who gets on the floor for loose balls, someone who plays defense, someone who plays above the rim and rebounds, someone who handles the ball and makes good decisions, someone who picks up his teammates when they're down. I want to be known as an all-around player."
One thing Turner can count on is being known as one of the most coveted players in the 2011 class. As a Bloomington native he will undoubtedly be a focal point of IU Coach Tom Crean's recruiting efforts for 2011, and he'll likely face the same sort of pressures both Jared Jeffries and Sean May had when it came to playing at IU.
College coaches aren't allowed to make contact with high school prospects until after their sophomore years, but Turner has crossed paths with Crean on a couple of occasions while participating in camps. His early impressions have been positive.
"He seems like a great guy," Turner said. "He knows what he's doing, and he's looking to get classy kids, the right kind of kids there, and that's the right way to do it."
One of those kids is Hulls, Turner's backcourt mate at Bloomington South. A 4.0 student who has seen his stock skyrocket due to his play on the AAU circuit this spring and summer, Hulls also figures to be one of IU's lead recruiters when it comes to trying to convince Turner IU is the right place for him.
"He's been telling me how cool it would be if we both went to IU," Turner said. "I think it would be awesome because Jordy's an awesome player, someone who distributes it to everyone. I'd like it."
But there's also a lot to like about plenty of other programs. Turner has been a fan of North Carolina for sometime due in large part to the fact former South guard Jon Holmes and North forward Sean May played there. Michigan State has been sending letters, and Turner said he's always liked Spartan Coach Tom Izzo. Purdue's staff got his attention by watching all of him games at the Kentucky Hoopfest, and Ohio State and Illinois have also made an early impression.
"I really like Indiana, Purdue, North Carolina, Duke, Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State and Kansas a lot," Turner said.
That's a lot of big-name programs, but Turner has plenty of time to sort through it all. The family is hoping to make some unofficial visits after Turner returns from Las Vegas later this month, and IU figures to be one of the early stops.
Those trips will give Turner a taste of what's out there, so when it comes time to take recruiting more seriously, he'll be prepared.
"I'd say I'll probably start thinking about recruiting more after my sophomore school year is over," Turner said. "I think that's when they can start calling me. That's when it will probably start to get serious and when I really will start to pick out my top schools.
"But right now I'm just staying completely open and enjoying it."
Turner Turning Plenty of Heads
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