Myles Turner Emerges as Breakout Star of Nike Academy | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Tuesday / September 26.
  • Myles Turner Emerges as Breakout Star of Nike Academy

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    UNION, N.J. — On a night when former No. 1 draft picks Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis were in the gym at Kean University for the Nike Skills Academy, the biggest story of the evening revolved around a 6-foot-11 high school player who was barely on the national radar just a couple of weeks ago.

    In a room full of NBA scouts, college stars, media representatives and his own high school peers, Myles Turner of Euless (Texas) Trinity put on a show.

    The 2014 big man stepped out on the perimeter and smoothly drained long-range jump shots. He ran the floor like a gazelle and flashed his chiseled frame. And he matched up on the perimeter with 6-11 Kentucky-bound big man Karl Towns Jr.

    “It was fun, the best word I can describe it is fun,” Turner told following the performance. “I love going up against competition, especially someone of my caliber.”

    In the span of just a couple of months this spring and summer, Turner has come from virtually nowhere to become a five-star prospect coveted by the biggest names in college basketball.

    “After the NBA Camp, I created some buzz off of there,” Turner explained of his performance at the recent NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va.

    How much buzz?

    Check out who’s been calling Turner in recent days.

    “Coach [John] Calipari called,” he said. “Rick Pitino called. I actually picked up a scholarship from Louisville. I’ve been talking with coach [Nate] James over at Duke. Looking forward to talking to Coach [Mike] Krzyzewski soon.

    “I didn’t play last summer because I had a broken ankle so [Kentucky] didn’t really get to see who I am, so this next July period they’re going be able to come out here and watch me play.”

    Asked if he was recruiting Turner to Kentucky, Towns Jr. said: “I want anybody who wants to win a national title to go to Kentucky with me, so if he wants to win a national title and he wants to go to Kentucky, I’ll be more than willing to answer any of his questions.”

    Turner added that “literally every school [in the Big 12] with the exception of West Virginia” was coming at him hard.

    He also took a recent unofficial visit to SMU of the American Athletic Conference with Texas point guard Emmanuel Mudiay.

    “It was great,” Turner told of the visit. “I enjoyed getting to talk with coach Larry Brown, who’s one of the best basketball minds in the game. I also got to walk around and look at the campus, which is absolutely beautiful.”

    He has no official visits planned but is looking forward to taking some in the fall.

    “I’m definitely going to get some visits out of the way but I have not planned any official ones,” he said.

    Turner is highly impressive during interviews and said he wants to study counseling psychology in college.

    “I really love giving advice to people,” he said. “I get a thrill out of giving people advice. I really like helping people. I really like kids, so maybe I can get somewhere with that.”

    Longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski watched Turner’s performance and came away highly impressed.

    “He has an unlimited ceiling,” Konchalski told “He’s 6-11, he looks like he’s going to grow another inch or two. Right now he’s a little too enamored of stepping out and shooting 3’s where he has a very good touch. But when you’re 6-11 your game should start inside. He should be playing inside-out.

    “He’s long, can really block shots. He runs extremely well. He just has to build up his body and get stronger. And his perimeter orientation probably is a function right now of his lack of strength. The stronger he gets, the more willing he’s going to be to play down low.

    “He has as much potential as any big guy. [Jahlil] Okafor certainly is way ahead of him right now, but in the long run outside of Okafor he has as much potential as anyone…And in the long run you never know. He’s really a baby in terms of his basketball.”

    Turner seems to get the message about needing to dominate down low.

    He said he admires Kevin Durant and wants to play like him on the perimeter, but also wants to refine his post moves to become more assertive

    “I really want to be able to be dominant,” he said, “like a Roy Hibbert or someone like that.”



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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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