Jahlil Okafor gets most of the attention, but there are a number of NBA scouts who think the best big man in this year’s class is going to end up being Myles Turner. The 7-0 Chris Bosh clone still doesn’t know where he’s going to college but a decision should be coming soon. (He has offers from Ohio State, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma State and Texas). In the meantime, he’ll be taking the court tonight in Portland at the Nike Hoop Summit in front of dozens or NBA scouts.
Before tonight’s action, I caught up with the 240-pound center to talk about school, what he wants to study and who he emulates in the NBA.
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Dime: You wanna go ahead and give us the scoop on your college decision?
Myles Turner: [laughs] I’m gonna wait until after the Jordan Brand Classic, so I can go ahead and make a good decision for myself.
Dime: There have been some rumors that a few of your teammates here have been trying to recruit you to come play with them this fall. (The Kansas City Star reported earlier this month that Cliff Alexander has been lobbying hard for Turner to become a Jayhawk.)
MT: Not necessarily. They’ll do little things here and there like “hey, if I make this shot, you gotta go to Iowa State. If I do this, you gotta go to Duke.” But they don’t hound me about it. They reiterate the fact that they want me. They show me in practice, but they don’t hound me about it. It’s been all good.
Dime: How do you feel about the scrimmage against these local college players? It seemed like they were getting after it a little bit on defense and making you guys work. (Note: the USA squad scrimmaged a collection of local college and high school players at Thursday night’s practice, which was open to NBA scouts.)
MT: Yeah, we need to get used to it. That’s what we’re gonna be doing next year, for some of us the next couple of years. They gave us great looks. I’m really glad we were able to come out here and play against bigger, stronger, tougher guys. Just coming out and playing with them, it really showed us a lot. We always gotta play up to our level of competition. We can’t play down.
Dime: In terms of college choices, what are you looking for most in a school? What are some of the main factors that will go into your decision?
MT: Definitely where I feel the most comfortable. That’s a big thing. On these visits, whoever makes me feel like part of the team. That’s a big thing because you’re gonna be with these guys for a little while. These are the people you’re gonna remember for the rest of your life, so really just feeling comfortable around the student body. A good education is gonna come with any school you go to. They’re obviously Division-I colleges, and just a good coaching staff, just knowing you can be comfortable around them, one, and two, just get what you need to get to the next level.
Dime: You’ve said before that academics are important to you, so do you have any idea about what you’d like to major in?
MT: Definitely. I wanna try to get into counseling and psychology, or I might even minor in psychology or major in some form of counseling. I’m not exactly sure what form yet, but that’s definitely what I’m into.
Dime: It’s been a busy month for you guys with the McDonald’s All-American Game in Chicago last week, the Nike Hoop Summit this week in Portland, and the Jordan Brand Classic in New York coming up later in the month. How do you find the balance with school, sports and social life?
MT: I missed a good three weeks of school. I mean, now it’s great, but I know once I come back it’s gonna suck. You gotta go back and, of course, get all our work done, so…I’m very happy to be a part of all this, and I wouldn’t wanna trade it for the world.