Wanted to stay in Texas

EULESS, Texas – It was nearing his bed time on Tuesday and five-star center Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) still hadn't decided what school he was going to announce his commitment to on national television the following afternoon.

Then it hit him like the summer heat of the Lone Star State: This Texan wanted to stay in Texas.

"Texas is the place for me," the No. 2 player in 2014 said shortly after announcing his decision in front of a nationally televised audience and roughly a thousand of his classmates. "I'm a Texas kid and I really didn't want to leave home. Kansas, Duke, Oklahoma State. They were all on my list and I was very intrigued. I really had inclinations to go there but to stay here in Texas meant a lot to me."

The battle for his commitment was said to have come down to the Longhorns and Kansas, though, Turner said it was a tough decision between a top five that also included Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Duke.

"I couldn't leave home," said Turner, who pulled out an orange bucket hat with a Longhorn on it upon his announcement.

He is Texas' highest-rated commitment since five-star center Cameron Ridley signed in 2012.

The addition of Turner should make Texas one of the preseason favorites in the Big 12 considering the Longhorns return everyone from last season's team that went 24-11 overall (11-7 in conference) and lost to Michigan in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

"We can be great next year," he said. "We have everybody coming back next year. We only have one senior in Jonathan Holmes, who is a great leader. It will be really good for this program going forward."

That includes one of the nation's biggest frontcourts made up of Ridley (6-9, 285), Prince Ibeh (6-10, 250), Holmes (6-8, 240) and Connor Lammert (6-9, 235).

Because Turner can stretch the floor with his outside shooting, there's been talk that he could play the four and allow Ridley to stay at the five to form a "Twin Towers" look. That would presumably move Holmes to the three, which would make for one of the biggest lineups in the country.

"The stretch-four, move down to the five," Turner said when asked what the UT staff had told him about how they'd use him. "Be able to bang with Cameron in practice. Just to go down there and better myself every day going forward, I think we can do great things in the Big 12 next year."

In 20 games last season Turner averaged 17.8 points and 12.2 rebounds per game. He also hit 19 three-pointers and had 33 assists.

At the Nike Hoop Summit, he had one of the top wingspans (7-3.75) and standing reaches (9-1.5) in attendance.

Turner joins Jordan Barnett (St. Louis, MO/Christian Brothers College HS) as Texas' commitments in 2014.

Barnett, a three-star small forward, averaged 19.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game as a senior. He finished his high school career in style with 43 points and 20 rebounds in a state championship victory.

Texas also picked up a commitment from Maryland center transfer Shaquille Cleare (6-9) on April 24. Cleare, the No. 37 recruit in 2012 per Scout.com, will sit out next season and will have two years of eligibility left beginning in 2015-16.

Turner was the last high-profiled recruit to make his decision in the 2014 class. If there's ever a commitment that did his homework it was the lengthy post player that took official visits to Ohio State (Oct. 19), Ohio State (Feb. 1), Kansas (May 5th), Duke (May 8th) and Texas (March 25th). Oklahoma State, SMU and Texas A&M received unofficial visits.

Turner really got a good understanding for what the Longhorns had to offer during that official visit.

"Coach Barnes reiterated a lot of things to me," Turner told national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels after his visit. "I got to hang out with the team. I've gone there unofficially quite a bit. I'm very familiar with the players. I got to hang out with them. I went back to the dorm and got to see what their campus life is all about."

The Longhorns really didn't have to sell Texas to Turner. The fact that Texas is Texas was plenty good enough for him.

"I like that it's Texas," Turner said. "I'm from Texas. It's the University of Texas. It's close to home. They had a great season this year and everybody is coming back next year. There are a lot of great things about Texas."

What UT did sell to Turner was the ability to step into a front line as dominant as any in the Big 12 and supply some things that are currently missing.

"The pitch has been that I can basically come in and play right away," he added. "They need a scorer basically and a defensive presence. Cam [Ridley] and Prince [Ibeh] did a good job this year. He wants to add some more firepower to that."

Turner was also greatly intrigued by Texas' home victory against a heavily favored Kansas team last season.

"The fact that they were able to go in there and rally together, really the whole city rallied together to do that, it was rally inspiring," he said.

His ability to come back home and work with his own trainers, including John Lucas out of Houston, was also a factor that played in Texas' favor.

Here are some highlights of Turner: