It's in the middle of All-Star season, when the best of the Class of 2014 get together in a couple spots to test themselves against each other in contests like the McDonald's All-American game and the Nike Hoop Summit.
The same is certainly true for top Texas target Myles Turner, who also has an upcoming appearance in the Jordan Brand Classic. Turner scored seven points and grabbed seven rebounds while dishing out an assist in 21 minutes at the McDonald's game, then played just over eight minutes at the Nike Hoop Summit, scoring two points and grabbing three rebounds (two offensive). All told, in about 29 minutes of game time, Turner scored nine points and grabbed 10 boards.
But the games are basically the cherry on top of an already made sundae, with the bulk of the dessert coming from practice sessions during the week. Scout.com had a pair of National Recruiting Analysts in the fold for the McDonald's week practices in Evan Daniels and Josh Gershon, both of whom saw the near-7-footer (Turner measured 6-foot-11.5 in shoes and 242 pounds at Nike) take part.
"What Myles did do, and where Myles stands out is with his length on defense," Daniels said. "He was the only guy that could really check and cause Jahlil Okafor problems on the block. His shot-blocking, which comes from size, length and timing, is something that I think is going to translate well."
Turner's length was certainly impressive. At Nike, he had one of the top wingspans (7-3.75) and standing reaches (9-1.5) in attendance.
"He really solidified himself as one of the top defenders in the class," Gershon said. "That's something that he's shown in the past year since he came on the scene. Definitely, from the center position, he offers a great post presence and a tremendous shot-blocker. You're not sure how much he impacts the game offensively, but worst-case scenario, you're talking about a tremendous defensive player, which he showed over that weekend."
But Turner is a difficult project to pigeon-hole, especially in terms of trying to make comparisons. Sure, he's somebody willing to mix it up and block shots on defense in the post, but you're also talking about a player who scored 21 points in the first round of the three-point contest.
"He's certainly a unique prospect," Daniels said. "His strengths are his ability to shoot the ball, his ability to block shots and rebound his area. Where he's going to have to improve is his back-to-the-basket game. He has a ways to go there, but that's the next step in his development."
Gershon had a slightly different take.
"I wouldn't necessarily say that he has a unique skill set," Gershon said. "It's impressive that he can shoot the ball, especially at his position. But more and more centers are becoming good outside shooters, if you look at the NBA, a good portion of the centers can shoot. Still, the fact that he's a high school kid who already has that skill is somewhat unique, but any time you have a top-five prospect, he's probably bringing something unique to the table.
"So yeah, maybe it's unique, but as a top-five prospect, it's not really surprising," Gershon said. "His upside is awesome, and if everything goes well for him, he'll have a chance to be in the league for a long time."
Because of his ability to shoot it, some have talked about Turner potentially playing the four at the next level. In fact, Texas has talked with Turner about playing a twin-towers role with Cameron Ridley at times, with Ridley playing at center. Could he handle a spot at the four?
"It really depends on who he's going up against," Gershon said. "If he's going up against another center playing there then he'll be fine. But if he's going up against a face-up four, like a lot of college fours, you don't exactly want him out on the perimeter defending those guys.
"So a lot would depend on who he's playing against," Gershon said. "But at the same time, if they got he and Ridley on the court, it would be difficult for the other team to defend him in the post. So they could gain back a lot offensively."
Gershon also noted that it's unclear what exactly Turner will bring offensively. Sure, he can shoot the ball, but without a pure back-to-the-basket game, it's difficult to have high expectations for Turner on that side. But Gershon was quick to point out that Turner's game has come along rapidly, and that he hasn't seen the kind of low-post repetitions that others in his class have.
And ultimately, that's why Turner remains such an high-level prospect. While many look at his current game and declare that he lacks the polish to be a one-and-done type prospect, others point out that he'll have NBA scouts drooling because his base was established in such a quick amount of time, and because his potential is through the roof.
"The thing about one-and-dones is that just about all those guys could stand to use more than a couple years in college," Daniels said. "But on upside alone, it would be surprising if Myles didn't get a serious look. His ceiling is tremendously high, and his upside is as great, if not better than anybody else in his class./p>
"Sure, there are things and areas in his game that he'll really have to improve on, but you can say that about a lot of one-and-done guys," Daniels said. "What is promising about Myles is that he's an extremely hard worker who has made significant improvements to his game. With his work ethic, he's going to continue to improve."