Add Myles Turner’s name to the list of players with a scholarship offer from Kentucky.
John Calipari visited the 7-footer in his Dallas-area home Wednesday night and formally extended the UK offer, Turner’s high school coach told the Herald-Leader. Turner has rocketed up the recruiting rankings in recent weeks following a dominant showing on the summer circuit.
Scout.com now ranks him as the No. 2 overall prospect in the class of 2014.
Trinity High Coach Mark Villines was present for Wednesday night’s in-home visit, and he said it went well.
“The family and everybody was very impressed with Coach Calipari,” Villines told the Herald-Leader. “I mean, it’s Kentucky basketball, but he really pitched it to Myles. He didn’t sugarcoat anything — was very honest. When he walked away, the initial vibe was they were very impressed.”
Calipari is hoping Turner visits him next. The ideal date would be Oct. 18 for Big Blue Madness, which already has a guest list that includes 2014 targets Stanley Johnson, Trey Lyles, Kelly Oubre and James Blackmon Jr.
“They really want him to come up for midnight madness,” Villines said. “But everybody wants him to come that weekend. So I’m not sure where he’s going to choose, but he did throw that out there. And I know Myles is considering it.”
Turner already had a tentative visit scheduled for Ohio State that weekend, but that trip isn’t set in stone, according to Villines. Oklahoma State also wants him to visit Oct. 18. As of now, Turner’s only solidified official visit is Kansas on Oct. 4.
Other schools on his list include Duke, Louisville, Texas and Arizona.
Villines said Turner and his family are still planning to wait until the spring to sign with a school, but they’ll try to take as many visits as possible in the next few weeks before his senior season begins.
Turner shot up the recruiting rankings this summer by showcasing an impressive combination of defensive skill and offensive touch. He suffered a broken ankle last year and missed the entire summer circuit, which made him a lesser-known prospect going into his junior season.
Villines has coached Turner his entire high school career. He said the UK recruit measured at about 6-3, 160 pounds as an incoming freshman. He grew two or three inches that season, and has been growing gradually ever since.
Villines said Turner’s slight frame early in his high school career forced him to develop skills away from the basket.
“He’s been so skinny and thin growing up that he’s had to develop his game,” he said. “He’s not been a back-to-the bucket kind of guy, because of his weight. And now that he’s 228 (pounds), he still has the skill the play on the perimeter. … He’s going to pick-and-pop, he’s going to shoot threes, he’s going to run the floor. Because that’s what he knows.”
Turner’s most impressive skill over the summer was his defensive awareness.
“That’s always been a strength,” Villines said. “That’s always kind of been his forte and what he’s prided himself on. He had five games in district play last year where he had a triple-double, so 10-plus blocks. And he keeps a lot of those alive. … He doesn’t swat them out of the gym. He knows how to block shots.”
So, a lanky big man who plays away from the basket, blocks a lot of shots and controls where they end up? Sounds like another recent Calipari recruit.
“There were a lot of comparisons to him and Anthony Davis in the meeting last night,” Villines said.
New Jersey center Karl Towns Jr. is currently UK’s only commitment for the class of 2014. Towns is also a 7-footer, though he’s much bigger than Turner after an effort to gain weight for his stint with the Dominican national team this summer.
Turner and Towns are also different types of players, and Calipari is already pitching a “twin towers” setup in Lexington.
“At the next level, Myles is a ’4.’ He can play the ’5,’ but he’s really a stretch ’4,’” Villines said. “He can play with another big in the right system. And Coach (Calipari) mentioned that quite a bit.”