Myles Turner’s ascension up the basketball charts took everyone by surprise, because it happened so quick.
As a kid growing up in Bedford, Turner had noticeable potential as a basketball player. Where others were lacking, he could turn heads with his talent.
But no one saw this coming. No one saw this bright NBA career blossoming in such a short period of time.
However, no one knew about Turner’s grit, determination and desire.
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Even Turner’s Euless Trinity High School coach, Mark Villines, said: “You see him coming up and you know he’s going to be a good player. But you don’t know if he’s going to be a great player.
I think he’s one of those guys that would be picked significantly higher if we had to do the draft over again today.
Sacramento coach Dave Joerger about Myles Turner, who was drafted 11th in 2015
“And then, as he slowly progressed, you saw the work that he put in and it started to kind of really sink in that this kid’s going to be really good.”
Turner became so good that he was a Parade and McDonald’s All-American in 2014, and was the Big 12 Freshman of the Year during his lone season at the University of Texas. He was the 11th overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft by the Indiana Pacers and made the league’s all-rookie second team last season.
Turner has given the word “potential” new meaning.
“A lot of times when you do the draft, if you had to do it three years later the draft would come out differently,” Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger said. “I think he’s one of those guys that would be picked significantly higher if we had to do the draft over again today.”
Because Turner is a 6-foot-11, 243-pound power forward/center who can mix it up in the post and shoot outside, Joerger believes he has a decided advantage.
“The sky’s the limit for him because the game is moving towards bigs that are dynamic, and he’s dynamic,” Joerger said. “He can block some shots, he can handle the ball a little bit, he shoots a little bit, posts up a little bit, and you’ve got to be versatile and position-less.
He’s what the NBA is going to be. It’s mobile, it’s versatile – he’s got a great future ahead of him.
Joerger about Turner
“Basically, he can play power forward, and the way that the game is played now with all the ball handling and being able to switch defensively, he’s what the NBA is going to be. It’s mobile, it’s versatile – he’s got a great future ahead of him.”
As a 19-year rookie last season, Turner averaged 10.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocks and shot 49.8 percent from the field while playing a modest 22.8 minutes per game.
So far this season, Turner has started all 21 Pacers games and is averaging 14.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and is fifth in the NBA in blocks with 2.2 per contest. He also is shooting 53.2 percent from the field while playing 28.4 minutes per game.
“I like him as a player,” Kings guard Darren Collison said. “He’s athletic, he can shoot, he’s versatile, and he has passion.
“I think Indiana has a good piece to build around.”
Turner has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. Still, he’s humble.
“I love just hanging out with my boys, but everybody knows I’m passionate,” Turner said. “Being this young and being out there doing what I’m doing, it’s a pretty unique position and I take a lot of pride in doing it, but I’m still a kid at heart.
“I had to work for my position and for everything I have. I always stayed after practice and got there before practice and worked out with my dad and a couple of my coaches.”
From Villines’ perspective, Turner was a virtual workout machine and was very focused on reaching his long-range goal of becoming an NBA player.
“People didn’t realize how much time he put in outside (of practice),” Villines said. “It was just a never-ending cycle that he did to get that good.”
When the Pacers opened this season with a 130-121 overtime victory against the Mavericks, Turner was at his best. He finished with 30 points, a career-high tying 16 rebounds, four blocks and two steals while converting 13-of-19 shots.
“That’s one of my better games I’ve played in my career,” Turner said. “It was a huge performance for myself.”
Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, whose team will host the Pacers at 7:30 p.m. Friday at American Airlines Center, agrees.
“In his second year, he’s already a terrific player,” Carlisle said. “And yet, he’s really only scratched the surface of what I believe his long-range capabilities could be.”
Pacers at Mavericks
7:30 p.m. Friday, FSSW