Turner calls SMU “dark horse” schoolPosted: February 20, 2014
Before last night, it had been a really long time since Myles Turner visited SMU.
When the five-star big man came to the Hilltop last season, the Mustangs were playing .500 basketball in an old arena with a shallow roster of players.
Now, SMU has built a reputation around the country as a program on it’s way to the top. They have a Hall of Fame coach, a beautiful newly renovated arena, and a roster of young, talented players.
In the Mustang’s victory over Houston last night, they showed Turner, the top-ranked uncommitted player in the class of 2014, just how far the program has come since a year ago.
“It’s my first time to new Moody and it’s awesome,” Turner said. “It’s definitely changed a lot from last year, which was the last time that I came. The team and the fans have showed a lot of energy. The place looks beautiful and they got a full support system now, so everything is great.”
Turner, the No. 2 rated center in the class, had previously cut his list of schools down to just Oklahoma State, Kansas, Texas, Ohio State, Duke, Arizona and Kentucky. However, Turner says the recent success of the SMU program, which is now 21-6 this year, has changed his mind on them a little bit.
“They weren’t on my list last time, but they are somewhat back in the running now,” he explained. “They are kind of like a dark horse so to say. I still have my official list, but SMU is still kind of in the mix.”
The 6-foot-11, 240-pounder plays for Trinity High School, which is just 30 minutes from SMU’s campus, and is a member of the Texas Select in AAU. This has allowed the Mustang coaching staff to keep in contact with him throughout his entire recruitment.
Turner says the SMU coaches are doing a tremendous job and have built a relationship with him that goes beyond just basketball. He also said the idea of playing for a legendary coach is something he talks to his dad about frequently.
“The SMU coaches have kept in contact with me,” he explained. “I talk to Coach Ulric Maligi a lot and coach Larry Brown talks to my dad a lot. They have a great staff and they are very family-orientated.”
When asked to compare Moody Coliseum to the other schools he has visited, Turner was very complimentary of the SMU fans and the atmosphere. He still has three more official visits left to take, but Turner was impressed with what the Mustangs had to offer last night.
“I have already visited Ohio State and Oklahoma State,” he said. “I would say the only better atmosphere than Moody was Oklahoma State. Ohio State had a great atmosphere, but this is definitely up there. I really like everything I have seen. They are definitely bringing energy and showing a home court advantage.”
Turner is averaging 19 points and 12 rebounds per game this season and believes he still has a lot of room left to improve. If SMU were to somehow pair him up with Emmanuel Mudiay, the best point guard in the country, they could be a preseason top-10 team next year.
“Sometimes I talk to Emmanuel Mudiay about the possibility of playing here with him,” Turner said. “He hits me up. Recently, Keith Frazier has been hitting me up on Twitter a lot, too. I wouldn’t say it’s anything too serious though.”
SMU didn’t play very well last night and only beat the Cougars by four points at home. However, Turner and his family were all passionately cheering on the Mustangs late in the game and showing their support for the team.
At one point, with 15:26 left in the second half and the score tied 37-37, SMU fans used a media timeout to get Turner’s attention. As the students simultaneously erupted into a “My-les Tur-ner!” chant, the big man had no choice but to smile and wave at The Mob.
“I’m just going to take more visits and take my time with everything,” Turner said. “Hearing the fans cheer my name tonight was pretty awesome though. I’m definitely feeling the love here.”