Three-star shooting guard
De La Salle HS (Mich.)
Dorian's Pride (AAU)
6-foot-6, 185 lbs.
Though his impressive size and length can be misleading, A.J. Turner functions as a true 2-guard. Turner appears most comfortable with his mid-range jumper, and can easily catch and shoot in transition. That worked especially well in a Friday night victory against OBC (Ohio) at the Spiece Run N Slam.
Turner showed his composure and intangibles. Despite missing his first six shots, he stayed with his offensive game. He's more of the shoot-first prototype, and often struggled to finish in the paint. That might be altered if he managed to bulk up his wiry frame.
Chris Collins watched Turner play two weeks ago, an indication of clear interest in the shooting guard. He'll have to rebuild his relationship with the new head coach, though he's already close with assistant Tavaras Hardy.
One thing I liked from watching Turner is his physical defense. At times, he took the players he guarded out of the game—causing the opponent to run its offense around him. He has phenomenal length and reach, which could allow him to shut down guards.
That may be one of the most promising elements of his game. When Jershon Cobb leaves the program after the 2013-14 season, the Wildcats could desperately use another strong wing defender.
Turner is hardly the dominant player or "program turner," but he's a raw talent who can take easy steps to improve his game. Strength, of course, is one. He also needs to work on his free throw shooting. It's been an area of concern for Turner in the past, and he made just 1-of-5 from the stripe on Friday night.
But when Turner gets going, he's very difficult to stop. He heated up throughout the tournament, which is the type of play that obviously attracts college coaches. He's more than your simple three-point shooter, but can consistently nail mid-range jumpers.
It's hard to tell whether Collins will offer Turner. He'll invite Turner to campus–probably in July–and build the relationship. He should watch him on several occasions, trying to envision how Turner fits into his future roster.
For Turner, one downside might be strong shooting talent on Northwestern. Nate Taphorn and Kale Abrahamson, though different players, already thrive from the perimeter. To earn his NU offer, the three-star shooting guard needs to showcase a stronger range of skills.
He's another likable player, and no doubt one who could positively impact the future Wildcats roster. If Collins sees this promise, Turner could end up in Evanston.
A.J. Turner holds offers including Dayton, Arizona State and Iowa State.
He spoke to Purple Wildcats here.