Myles Turner, Texas Longhorn, will forgo his remaining three years of college eligibility and declare for the NBA Draft. He announced his decision via a Twitter message that BWG fanposted. Given the magnitude of the news, it's worth cobbling together a full post on the matter.
Turner, a former McDonald's All-American and consensus top 10 high school prospect, came to Texas with loads of potential. Though not as developed in skills or physicality as fellow freshmen bigs like Karl Towns or Jahlil Okafor, Turner possessed a world of potential as a two-way player, plus defender, and stretch big.
As a freshman at Texas, Turner averaged 10.1 points per game, 6.5 rebounds per game, and 2.6 blocks per game. He primarily functioned as Texas' first big man off the bench, averaging 22.2 minutes per game. In his first two collegiate performances, Turner posted 15 points, 6 rebounds against North Dakota State, and 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 blocks against Alcorn State, a harbinger of things to come. One of his best performances of the year came in Texas' fifth game against St. Francis, where Turner had 25 points and 10 rebounds on 11-12 shooting.
Turner struggled somewhat against better teams, particularly a lackluster performance against #1 Kentucky that got scrutinized by many draft analysts. In Big 12 play, Turner had 7 games in double-figures and 4 double-digit rebounding performances, with back-to-back double-doubles against Texas Tech and Oklahoma in mid-February. Turner seemed to express on-court frustration with his role and the team's performance as the season progressed, though he was always positive towards the media. Nevertheless, Turner's role quizzically diminished over Texas' final four games, as he did not break the 20 MPG or 10 PPG barrier in any of those matchups, and did not play a significant role in crunch time as Texas' season dwindled to a bitter end.
In some ways, Turner's season was a success. Out of high school, Turner was considered a raw big man with limitless potential. As a freshman, he displayed signs of rapidly maturing his game, including strong work as a help defender and an advanced array of skills as a low block post. However, his lack of physicality showed against stronger, more mature front lines, and he often settled for meandering on the perimeter rather than utilize his low block skills.
Earlier in the season, I maintained that, in terms of pure "tremendous upside potential," I would take Karl Towns 1 and Myles Turner 1b in the NBA Draft. Given enough time and proper coaching, Turner has the ability to a be a defensive and offensive asset that stretches the opposing team. Because of his (relative) lack of performance and larger production-to-potential gap, Turner is currently seen as an upside lottery pick rather than a top 5 lock. He figures to be the last lottery pick of the Rick Barnes era at Texas.
Thanks for everything, Myles. It was great seeing you blossom on the Forty. Hook 'em.