Mac Engel

February 27, 2014

Myles Turner’s dream of playing in the NBA will have to wait

The talented Euless Trinity star is college bound, but you can’t blame him for wanting to turn pro.

His size-19 shoes are slightly ripped along the sides, and it would appear that Myles Turner is ready to grow and break through just about everything, from his clothes up to and including high school basketball.

Depending on what scouting service you believe, Euless Trinity’s Turner is the second-best high school senior in the nation.

He is 6-foot-11, 230 pounds and can play basketball anyplace he wants next season — Duke, Kansas, Ohio State and Texas have all offered. He just can’t play in the NBA. If the new NBA commissioner gets his way, there will never again be a straight-to-the-NBA path and the one-and-doners will become extinct as well.

Selfishly, it would be wonderful to see college basketball loaded with its best players staying for multiple seasons rather than the one-and-doners who have changed the game. Then you meet Turner and his father and you get it.

“You have to go get it while you can get it,” Turner said. “If I were blessed enough to be put in a lottery position, I would have to go to the NBA as well.”

You can’t blame him. In his sophomore season, he suffered a broken ankle. In that moment and during the hours of rehab the thoughts of having it all gone entered his mind.

“The difference is the broken ankle,” said David Turner, Myles’ father. “He knows how fast it can go away.”

It used to be “get an education to fall back on,” now it’s become “grab it while you can, and then get your education if you need it.”

With David Stern retiring after 30 years as commissioner, his successor, Adam Silver, almost immediately announced his intention to raise the NBA’s age limit to 20. That would likely mean college programs would have their soon-to-be NBA stars for two seasons rather than one.

The NBA requires its players to be 19, or one year removed from their senior year of high school, before they can enter the draft. The earliest Silver can address this divisive issue is after the 2016-17 season, when the league’s agreement with the players union can be reopened.

The rules began in 2006 and immediately put a stop to the scores of high school players skipping college in favor of the pros. One of the aims was to put a stop to sports agents and other “representatives” littering high school games, lobbying high school kids to represent them once they turned pro.

One Division I coach said, “There are more [agents] now than I can ever remember.”

Trinity coach Mark Villines said he received a call last summer from one coach, “And he asked me if Myles had an agent yet.”

And this from Turner’s dad: “People were spreading rumors that we had agents, and we were accepting money. I worked every day of my life. I’ve had the same job for 27 years. My wife works. So when I heard that, I was like, ‘Wow.’ ”

The straight-to-NBA jump worked pretty well for LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Monta Ellis, etc.

The jump did not work so well for Kwame Brown, the No. 1 overall pick in 2001 by Michael Jordan’s Washington Wizards. Or did it?

His averages of 6.6 points and 5.5 rebounds suggest he is a monumental bust. He is also in his 14th NBA season and has signed contracts in excess of $60 million. Bust is a relative term.

Turner is not some dumb kid. He is bright and would attend college without basketball. Turner wants to be good. Both he, his dad, his mother and his coach all say he wants to earn a college degree.

“My goal is to go to the NBA,” Turner said. “A degree is important to me — that is all my family talked about.”

Turner is the highest-ranked remaining senior who has not signed. His finalists are Kentucky, Texas, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Kansas, Ohio State and Duke. He also has visited SMU.

“It’s going to be a win-win wherever he goes,” David Turner said.

The program that signs Myles Turner knows he will go as fast as he can.

He is scheduled to visit Kansas on March 5 — Senior Night. Ironic since, if things go right, Turner will never celebrate a Senior Night at college.

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