A Daily Texan column titled, "Why five-star recruit Myles Turner should not choose Texas" stirred up a mini-online controversy on Wednesday afternoon.
The column, which suggests that the five-star prospect should choose a different school because of the Longhorn's weak home atmosphere, dim spotlight, and lame-duck head coach was shared vigorously by members of the Kansas faithful, many of whom tagged Turner in their posts and may have been responsible for a tweet where he emphasized how stressful this week will be.
Some excerpts from the story are below:
The Erwin Center is devoid of a deafening atmosphere. Even if the crowd is relatively large, seats almost always look empty because of the size of the building. Wouldn’t Turner rather play at Allen Fieldhouse, the place ESPN ranked as the loudest stadium in college basketball? Heck, even SMU’s newly renovated Moody Coliseum offers a better basketball experience than the Erwin Center.
While it would be pointless to try and compare the Frank Erwin Center to the Allen Fieldhouse or Cameron Indoor Stadium, the Longhorn fans always seem to get a bad rap for basketball attendance. Texas will never have the tradition that Kansas has in basketball (they invented the game), but to suggest that it is 'devoid of a deafening atmosphere' is simply incorrect.
When Texas is good at basketball, they have made Frank Erwin Center one of the most dangerous arenas for opposing teams in the entire country. History shows us that Texas has done it before. The Runnin' Horns era and the early 2000's are prime examples of the Frank Erwin Center being a rowdy and raucous environment. Excitement brings in crowds. It did last season when Longhorn fans realized just how talented the preseason-8th-best-team-in-the-Big-12 was performing. It would grow exponentially with the addition of Myles Turner.
Looking for a fair comparison? I'd say Florida. Texas fans can do what Florida fans have done to create a notorious home-court advantage in the SEC. Last year was simply a reminder of the excitement Texas basketball could bring to the Forty Acres. Next season, with the potential addition of Myles Turner, it could be standing room only at the Frank Erwin Center.
The Big 12 is deep, and one could even make the case that it was the best conference last year. But only Kansas was really ever a championship contender.
The Big 12 was one of the two toughest conferences in college basketball last season, and because its teams consist of more four-year players than one and dones, the peak of the conference still lies ahead. Texas basketball is a prime example of young guys who have the opportunity to grow into something special, but the Big 12 is a complete conference with some of the best coaches in the country. The conference sent seven teams to the tournament last year, and most didn't make it to the Sweet 16, including Kansas.
The difference between Kansas and a lot of their peer conference schools is that, while the Jayhawks will have to rebuild, most others have to fill gaps and build around a set core. If there was a year where a non-Kansas team could change the perception of Big 12 basketball, it's next year.
Rick Barnes is a good coach. But would people rather play for him than Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Kansas’ Bill Self or SMU’s Larry Brown? Turner will likely turn pro after one year, and, while talented, his game is in need of considerable molding. Barnes is not the best man to do that. Krzyzewski, Self and Brown all have considerable experience preparing players for the NBA.
Rick Barnes has groomed twelve NBA players during his tenure at Texas, and while that number may not be crazy impressive, the names on the list are. Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tristan Thompson, and Royal Ivey highlight a number of high-caliber NBA players developed in Austin by Barnes. While Coach K, Bill Self, and Larry Brown's names resonate at a different level, the notion that Rick Barnes struggles with developing players is also incorrect.
Just read this glowing Daily Texan report written by the same author from exactly three months ago:
The former five-star center was a flop in his fist year. He was a higher rated recruit than Oklahoma State superstar Marcus Smart, but Ridley averaged just four points and four rebounds as a freshman, shooting an abysmal 33 percent from the line. For reference, Shaq shot 42 percent in his worst season. Ridley even struggled to catch the ball. But this year, Ridley could be the most improved player in college basketball. He is averaging more than 10 points per game to go with seven rebounds. He’s on the floor 54 percent more often than last year. He’s respectable at the charity stripe. His field goal percentage has gone up, and he’s blocking more shots. He’s more effective than former Longhorn center Dexter Pittman ever was, and it is just halfway through his sophomore campaign.
Rick Barnes revamped a player, who had survived high school and AAU hoops by existing as a dominating impenetrable mass, through coaching that helped him improve in every aspect of his game. Barnes often gets criticized for being a lame-duck coach, but what he and Texas strength coach Todd Wright implement in workout and coaching programs has had long-term benefits for Texas basketball.
Myles Turner might commit somewhere else, but it's impossible to say that he fits into a program better somewhere other than at Texas. With the returning core of freshman, the leadership of Jon Holmes, and the necessity of a game-changer, it's hard not to call the fit perfect.
Not to mention, a little research into the author of the above Daily Texan column revealed a photo of the author with someone in Kansas Jayhawks gear. Excellent troll, sir.
Turner will announce his commitment next Wednesday live on ESPNU.