Former Euless Trinity and Texas basketball star Myles Turner, a rookie with the Indiana Pacers, returned home Thursday to Central Junior High to help present the school’s inaugural player of the year award named in his honor.
The Myles Turner Player Of the Year award is a cumulative award given to the top student athlete in basketball at the school.
“It means a lot,” Turner said. “To be back home with mom and dad, I couldn’t be happier to be back to this.”
In conjunction with establishing the award, Euless Mayor Linda Martin proclaimed Feb. 11 as Myles Turner Day. Turner said he takes pride in representing the Hurst-Euless- Bedford community in the NBA.
“The fact that it’s a big football state, big football town, all the basketball players that come out here, it means a great deal that I’m one of the first to do so,” he said. “I’m going to keep that going and make the city proud.”
After leaving Central, Turner earned All-America honors at Euless Trinity High School. He signed with the Longhorns and played one season for Texas before declaring for the NBA draft. He was selected with the 11th overall pick by Indiana last summer.
In 31 games this season, Turner has started eight. He averages 9.9 points, five rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He is shooting 53.3 percent from the field and is averaging 20.3 minutes a game.
He had a career-high 31 points against the Golden State Warriors on Jan. 22 and has two double-doubles this season, with both coming in the past six games.
In his first NBA start on Jan. 28 against the Atlanta Hawks, Turner had 20 points, six rebounds and made 9 of 17 shots from the field.
“I was real excited because I knew it was just the testament of all the hard work I put in,” he said.
The Pacers (28-25) are sixth in the Eastern Conference at the All-Star break.
How has the “one and done” worked out for you and what advice would you give to those deciding on it in college? I feel like it’s worked out well for me. If you can put yourself in position to help your family out, as high as possible, that’s the way I looked at it. Thankfully for me, I was able to come out last year and have a big impact and just making a name for myself.
Who has been the toughest to guard so far in the NBA? DeMarcus Cousins [Sacramento Kings] was a tough matchup, how big he is, how skilled he is.
Were you star-struck when you entered the league? You just have to brush it off. Some of these guys I’ve been watching for the longest time. You just have to step on the floor and get better.
What is the biggest adjustment you’ve made in the NBA? Just getting over the mental block, knowing there’s a game every other night and being ready to go.
What’s the Pacers’ outlook going forward? I feel great about the second half of the season. I think we’re going to make a good playoff push and deep playoff run as well.
Do you have any best friends on the team now? I wouldn’t say best friends, but there’s a couple guys that I lean on like PG [Paul George], fellow rookie Joe Young and C.J. Miles.
What did you buy with your first NBA check? I bought my family a cruise. It was a good way to give back.
Are you involved in any charities or foundations? I started a campaign called WARM (We All Really Matter). It’s in Indiana right now, but hopefully it’ll come to Texas one day and across the nation. It focuses on helping the homeless or the less fortunate. We have these warm packs with food and water, thermal blankets, socks, gloves, hats, just helping around the city.