Commitment Analysis: Myles Turner

Euless Trinity center Myles Turner, a five-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 2 center, picked Texas on Wednesday over Kansas, Duke and others. What does Turner's commitment mean for the Longhorns?

First, it's important to note what landing Myles Turner means to Texas from a recruiting standpoint. Recruiting is like a high school party, with the cool kids (i.e. top recruits) wanting to go to the parties where the other cool kids are. And Texas was a school that hadn't landed an elite-level prospect since Cameron Ridley in 2012.

That might not seem like a long time, but it meant that players like Isaiah Austin, Rasheed Sulaimon and Marcus Smart went to other programs in 2012, Julius Randle, Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Matt Jones left the state in 2013, while 2014s like Emmanuel Mudiay, Justin Jackson and Justise Winslow elected not to play for the Longhorns. Those are 10 five-stars who played their high school ball in the Lone Star State over the past three classes that chose to play elsewhere.

At the same time, the Longhorns landed five other prospects in the 2013 and 2014 classes, all of whom were rated three stars. Now some of those players, most specifically Isaiah Taylor, panned out. But Texas needed a big fish, one of the state's top players, to pick the program to show that it was still a destination school for the state's premier talent. In landing Turner, a consensus top-10 player in the nation and Scout.com's No. 2 center and a five-star prospect, the Longhorns accomplished just that, and did so heading into a 2015 class in which Texas could be a major player for several top prospects.

Of course, Turner also brings a sizable impact as a basketball player. He's a guy with an intriguing game, a 7-foot shot-blocker on defense who's most comfortable with an outside jumper on offense. His jump-shot, which extends all the way out to three-point range, gives him the ability to play the four on offense, while his size (242 pounds at Nike Hoop Summit), and length (7-4 wingspan with a 9-2 standing reach) allows him to defend opposing centers.

That versatility is important when trying to project Turner's role at Texas. The Longhorns enter the 2014-15 season with a stacked frontcourt that returns both starters in Jonathan Holmes, a second-team All-Big 12 selection this past season, and Cameron Ridley, the Big 12's top returning true center, and both top backups in Connor Lammert and Prince Ibeh. On most teams that would be a significant roadblock to playing time and would stop Turner from achieving starter-type minutes.

But Texas doesn't have a definite No. 3 that merits constant playing time (though there's hope for Martez Walker) and Turner isn't limited to either the four or five. So he could serve as the primary backup to both Holmes and Ridley, while also logging time with both players if Texas goes with the 6-8 Holmes at the three, something the coaches experimented with a bit in 2013-2014.*

* The Longhorns always played a zone when they did so, helping Holmes handle the defensive transition against a smaller player, and doing so would also help Turner defend the smaller fours the Big 12 deploys on a regular basis.

So if Texas squeezes, say, 10 minutes of 2-3 with a larger lineup, then gets Turner 5-10 minutes in relief of both Holmes and Ridley, you have him playing 25-30 minutes a game, or starter-type minutes.

The question then becomes what happens to the Longhorns' other two post players, and that's another advantage to Texas luring Turner in: the possibility to redshirt one of Lammert or Ibeh. Redshirting Ibeh makes the most sense, as Lammert can play multiple spots and Ibeh has more long-term potential. With Ibeh's feet, athleticism and shot-blocking, he could be an NBA big man. The unfortunate part is that he came into Texas at the same time as Ridley, which meant a block on his playing time.

But the staff feels like Ridley may leave after his junior season, meaning that if Ibeh redshirts next year, he could spend that season working on his game and the next two seasons as a full-time starter. It's a great move for Texas, and for Ibeh.

Could Turner still be around to join Ibeh that year? It's not impossible, with the NBA considering a two-year requirement and the fact that Turner could use some additional seasoning before declaring. And with Turner's ability to play the four, he could start for Texas at that spot with Ibeh at the five and give the Longhorns a plus frontcourt yet again.

The point is that Turner is a high-level talent who also happens to give the Longhorns options. And from a recruiting standpoint, it shows that the Barnes staff is still able to pull in the big fish after a class of missing out on top targets.


Future Rangers Top Stories