Myles Turner in some ways has been the forgotten man in the 2014 recruiting class. The 6’11,” 220 pound center out of Euless, Texas, while not ranked as highly as is Jahlil Okafor, is nevertheless a major, major talent in his own right, and is a guy who is wanted by elite programs across the nation. Duke is not like Arizona under Sean Miller, where anyone who can fog a mirror gets an offer. No, while the Blue Devils are certainly casting a wider net than they did in years past, when a player receives an offer from Mike Krzyzewski, he is special. He knows he is wanted — really wanted — by Coach K. Myles Turner has an offer, and Duke is recruiting him vigorously.
And for good reason. Last weekend at the AdidasNations camp was the first chance I got to see him play, as he missed the Pangos Camp earlier in the summer with an illness. Turner is a player. He did not dominate games with his scoring. He still has a lot of room for growth in terms of his post moves and his development of a face-up game. He can shoot the ball, but with time and good coaching he’ll learn how to get his shot more easily. Additional strength will help as well. But he is long, athletic, and active. He is a jumping jack in there, blocking tons of shots and altering lots more. He runs the floor extremely well. Myles has shot up the recruiting rankings in recent months as more scouts have had an opportunity to see him play. And as he continues to develop this year, in particular on offense, he’s going to move even higher. There is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be a major factor for an elite college program, and he could be such a player for Duke should he choose to enroll in Durham.
Myles is a very engaging young man to talk to as well. He’s smart, articulate, and outgoing, as well as appreciative of the attention given to him.
Here’s what he had to say to BDN last weekend at the AdidasNations camp in Garden Grove, CA.
BDN: I’m here with Myles Turner after the semifinal game of the Adidas Nations. You guys are heading for the finals tomorrow.
MT: Yes, sir.
BDN: All right. 6’11” out of Texas. Myles, some of our readers are a little confused. Can you make it clear: you do or don’t have an official offer from Duke?
MT: I do have an official offer from Duke.
BDN: OK. One of the things that people are always wondering about is this: what does that process look like? Do you just get a phone call and it’s Coach K and he says “hey, we’d like to offer you” or how is it really handled? Is it more formal than that, or –
MT: Pretty much so. I was talking with Coach Nate James and he’s talking about it a little bit, but I really don’t think anything’s official until I hear from the Head Coach. Coach Krzyzewski saw me play a bit and then one day he just texted me and introduced himself, and then we talked on the phone for a bit and that’s when he extended his official offer.
BDN: The first time you talked to him on the phone, that was it, huh?
MT: Second time. (laughs)
BDN: Now, I saw that you recently cut the list from real big to still pretty big, to 25. You’ve got a lot of people coming at you. You’ve really rocketed up the ratings over the last few months. What do you attribute that to? How do you think that’s happened?
MT: I think just through my hard work that I’ve been putting in last summer and all this summer. Unfortunately, I didn’t play last summer due to a broken ankle –
BDN: I was going to ask you about that –
MT: Yeah, and then just, really, I put on some weight. I’ve always been real skinny, but I put on a bit of weight, just really been working on my shot. Still trying to work on my back-to-the-basket game a little bit, and I think it’s just being noticed. I attribute that to my AAU coach and everybody who’s working for me.
BDN: You going to try to put on some weight. What are you at now?
MT: I’m at 220.
BDN: What do you want to get up to?
MT: I definitely want to try to get up to around 230, comfortably.
BDN: All right, so you’re going to be in the weight room?
MT: For sure.
BDN: It’s not going to be milkshakes?
MT: (laughs) No, sir.
BDN: All right. Review for us, if you would, what your summer has looked like. I know you were at Under Armour, and where’d you go from there?
MT: I started off in Houston, and then I went to the Under Armour event. I went to the Real Deal in the Rock, from there I went to the NBA camp –
MT: Yes. Charlottesville, Virginia. Both the Nike Skills Camps. I went to the Amare Stoudemire Camp and the LeBron James Camp. I went to the John Lucas Camp.
BDN: Were you in Philly too?
MT: No, I didn’t go to that one. I also went to the Hoop Combine, up where I’m from. The Texas Hoop Combine.
BDN: OK, and then you were in Vegas.
MT: Vegas, yeah, the Fab 48, and then Milwaukee.
BDN: How’d Vegas go?
MT: Vegas went well.
BDN: Vegas was crazy, wasn’t it?
MT: Oh yeah, for sure. We beat two top teams we really needed to beat in Mac Irvin Fire and Belmont Shore. That was a real confidence booster for us. Unfortunately we couldn’t take it all, but it helped a lot.
BDN: Yeah. And just having that kind of experience, I would think, against top teams all weekend had to be good for your confidence and just for feeling good about where you’re at.
MT: For sure. We were coming off some tough losses. The week previous we lost to Mac Irvin by like 20. They mercy-ruled us. (laughs) Just being able to come out there and make a statement like that, it was really helpful for us.
BDN: What else do you have left for the summer, or are you done?
MT: I’m going to go to the Elite 24 in Brooklyn, and I’m still debating on whether I’m going to do the Big Strick Classic or not. It looks like I’m not, but I’m still looking at that one.
BDN: ‘Cause you guys all seem like you’re — it’s been a long summer.
MT: Oh my gosh. I’ve been in hotel beds more than my own bed. (laughs)
BDN: And you guys are young and this travel schedule is just killer.
MT: Yeah, it is. But I think it’s good in a sense ‘cause it gets you ready for the next level –
MT: — if you’re going to the NBA, stuff like that.
BDN: So what do you think you need to work on in the coming season? You said you need to work on back-to-the-basket. That’ll come with some weight and some skill work. What else?
MT: That’s the biggest thing right now. Maybe a little bit of ballhandling. My high school team is not very strong right now. If I need to bring the ball upcourt sometimes –
BDN: You’re 6’11” man! —
MT: (laughs) I know. I know. But if they’re getting trapped hard, ‘cause our guards are little, so . . .
BDN: You do what you’ve got to do?
MT: Exactly. Exactly.
BDN: Any additional skills you develop, you figure can only help down the line?
MT: Exactly. I agree.
BDN: OK. Now, I know you’ve got an official set for Kansas in October, right?
BDN: Do you have any other official or unofficial visits set?
MT: To this point, no. I’m probably going to plan some unofficials. Kansas was a campus and a program that I really wanted to see, so that’s why I planned that one immediately.
BDN: OK. Who else has been recruiting you the hardest?
MT: Duke has been recruiting me pretty hard. Texas, Baylor, really all the Big 12 Conference, ‘cause you know, it’s close to home.
BDN: Are you going to feel any kind of pressure to stay close to home, because that’s where you’re from and you’ve got a lot of – you know, there’s family, friends, etc.? Or are you going to be open to anywhere that feels like the right fit for you?
MT: I’m probably going to be open to anywhere. My family understands that I really need to go develop myself, and whatever’s going to be the best fit for me, they’re gonna — and I think it’d be a little bit heartbreaking to move far away from home, but really where I feel is the best decision to go, that’s where I’m going to go.
BDN: Who would you say has been your most regular contact from the Duke program?
MT: Coach Nate James.
BDN: Coach James, OK. How often are you guys in contact?
MT: He’s in contact with my parents a lot. He talks to me, he understands that I’m going through a lot right now, so he really talks to my parents a lot.
BDN: OK. And what about Coach K? Is there regular contact with him too, or is it just Coach James pretty much?
MT: Coach K sends me a text every now and then, telling me, you know, he’s proud of me, “good job at what you’re doing,” stuff like that.
BDN: I read somewhere that you described him as “down to earth” and “cool.”
MT: Yeah. (laughs)
BDN: What do you mean by that?
MT: I guess in the sense that he really knows what he’s doing. And he knows how to deliver the message that he wants to deliver. He’s really straightforward with everything, but he doesn’t, like, in a sense, bring you down. He’s really – I just really like the kind of guy he is, really.
BDN: How do you think that differentiates him, if it does, from other coaches who have come at you with different ways?
MT: I think the biggest difference between him and other coaches Is just the amount of success he’s had. There’s a lot of coaches that have had success, like Larry Brown, Coach Calipari, but just the overall success he’s had and how he does it on a continuous basis, that’s really what –
BDN: With different styles of play and different types of players he can incorporate – that’s what a lot of guys have said. What do you think about that?
MT: I think it’s pretty accurate. I would say so. When you have people like Mason Plumlee coming in, or Seth Curry, they’re able to go in there and just play their game, and not differentiate.
BDN: All right. I also read – ‘cause I did a little bit of homework on you – you’re a bowler.
MT: (laughs) Yeah. Yes, sir.
BDN: Now, what I want to know is: you must have your own bowling shoes, ‘cause those size 21’s – you can’t rent a pair of those at the bowling alley, can you?
MT: (laughs) No, not at all. Usually they let me go, and wear my own shoes, that’s what it is. Bowling is more of a hobby than something I do professionally –
BDN: I know. I’m just clowning on you –
MT: (laughs) I know. But if I ever come into some money, that’d be my first investment!
BDN: I got a feeling that down the road you’ll probably come into some money if you continue to improve like you have. When are you thinking in terms of cutting down the list further from 25?
MT: Definitely after this event. Me and my dad, on the airplane, just cut it down from there.
BDN: Sounds good. It’s really been a pleasure to meet you and to watch you play this weekend. Best of luck to you.
MT: Thank you.
[Note: Myles was as good as his word, as within days of this interview he indeed cut his list to eight schools. Duke is on that list.]
Myles Turner AdidasNations