Experts debate Duke and Myles Turner

Myles Turner

With the commitments of Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Grayson Allen, and Tyus Jones the Blue Devils have secured the nation's top recruiting class for 2014. However, the Blue Devils may not be finished and are recruiting the No. 2 overall prospect, Myles Turner for the final spot. How would Turner fit in for Duke next year? We spoke to the experts to find out.

The departure of Alex Murphy leaves the Duke roster with 12 scholarship players for the 2014-2015 season. The assumption of one dozen scholarship athletes includes a sophomore Jabari Parker and redshirt junior Rodney Hood. Both players are likely to have major NBA decisions to consider with Parker being projected as one of the top three overall picks, and Hood being a candidate to slip into the top 15.

Regardless of what Parker and Hood decide, there is now room - at least on paper - for the addition of Myles Turner, the five star center from Texas. Recently, Turner's game has continued to evolve enough to suggest he could play as a power forward at the next level if placed beside a dominant center such as Okafor. It's a match that Myles' father, David, believes is possible as he told TDD:

"If it happened, it'd be great," the elder Turner said. "I mean what coach wouldn't want that kind of lineup; Jahlil and Myles together…wow! With that kind of fire power, just give us a point guard and let's go."

Duke, of course, has landed Tyus Jones, who is widely considered as the best pure point guard in high school basketball.

For his part, Myles Turner has been more reserved, but has acknowledged the idea of playing with Okafor.

"I don't think his decision would scare me off or anything, but I was definitely watching it. I think that me and Jahlil could play together, but at the same time I'm looking out for me as well, and I have to make the best decision possible."

Speculation among recruiting experts is that Turner will ultimately end up somewhere other than Durham. However, Duke is continuing to stay in contact with Turner and making their pitch - recently sending assistant Nate James to Texas to see Turner in action against UNC commit Justin Jackson in a game where Turner lead his team to a six point on the strength of 29 points, 15 rebounds, and nine blocks.

In that game the 6-foot-11 Texan showed why some believed he could be a match with Duke's top rated quartet.

Offensively, Turner showed his versatility. He faced up and hit jumpers from both mid-range and three, but he also showed confidence in his back to the basket game and dropped in multiple jump hooks.

On the opposite end, Turner, who is ranked No. 2 overall in the 2014 class, actively protected the rim. He was quick off his feet, controlled the paint and was a dominant defensive presence from a shot blocking standpoint.

So, playing the ultimate game of "what if"…what if Turner decided on Duke? How would it work alongside the rest of the roster? We asked the experts at Scout.com for their opinions - specifically how Turner and Okafor would work as a front court pairing.


Brian Snow, National Recruiting Analyst:
Honestly I don't think the two of them would really work well together, and it would force Duke to play zone on the defense end and would clog up their offense on that side as well. Turner and Okafor don't necessarily play alike, but I also don't think they would complement each other well. Neither moves their feet that well laterally, and that would cause major issues in ball screen defense, and then with opponents likely to go small it would spread them out in a way on defense that wouldn't be beneficial. Both can only play one position on both sides of the floor, and that position is center.

Sure Turner is a better shot blocker than Okafor, and sure on offense he can spread the floor some while Okafor would play down low, but given the speed of the college game and how you create mismatches, I honestly don't see that working very well. Now what it would do is allow both guys to go 100 percent for 20 minutes of the game, and there is some significant value in that, and also it means fouls won't be as big an issue, but if I was an opposing coach I would see major ways to take advantage of Duke if both were on the floor at the same time.



Josh Gershon, National Recruiting Analyst:
From an offensive standpoint, that duo would obviously be extremely difficult to stop inside. Okafor is likely a guy that is going to command a double, and he's too good of a passer to have someone of Turner's size and ability that nearby, not to mention the rest of the players on the court for Duke, who will be more than capable of hitting the open shot.

On defense, Duke would be a terrific defensive rebounding and shot blocking team, but I do worry about how the Blur Devils would match up with a face up four, who neither Okafor or Turner is suited to guard. Further, any team with more than three three-point shooters on the court at the same time would create a mismatch problem.

It's a great duo for what they provide offensively and around the rim on defense, but it's a lineup that would still have some concerns.



Rob Harrington, Scout.com Recruiting Analyst:
I think they'd compliment each other very well in terms of intended style — given that Turner prefers to face the rim — but the actual pairing of the two would post significant defensive issues for Duke. Neither guy can defend at all on the perimeter, and as such I think that duo could get exploited.

That said, Turner would give the team a shot-blocking presence that Okafor does not. And offensively, he could play from 8-12 feet away and give Okafor the required space to dominate inside. I think the offense would improve significantly with Turner in the game, but ideally he'd pair with a physical, mobile forward rather than a full-time center.

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