At long last, it's decision day for Myles Turner. The blue chip, consensus five-star recruit from Euless Trinity/Texas Select will announce his highly anticipated decision at 3:00 pm on Wednesday, which fans can watch live on ESPNU. There will probably be hats. There are always hats.
And that's fine. Hey, as far as I'm concerned, Turner can play three-hat monte for twenty minutes so long as the game ends with him donning burnt orange garb.
Should Longhorns gets their hopes up? Well, yeah: that's sort of the point, right? As for setting expectations, well... you've hopefully seen enough of these to know that Myles Turner may not pick up the burnt orange hat this afternoon. Or might pick it up, put it on, wait five seconds, inform us it doesn't fit, and then pick up the hat of the school he's actually choosing. Seriously, you should prepare yourself for that, and just about everything else.
In sum: the standard caveats apply.
That established, I wrote in my player profile of Myles Turner that in my estimation Texas was and should be considered the favorite to land Turner's commitment, and that's still the case today. My confidence wavered about a month ago when John Lucas' name started surfacing as an interested candidate in the University of Houston coaching job, but those rumors proved to be unfounded and the Cougars hired Kelvin Sampson (the gift who keeps on giving). Had Lucas in fact taken a head coaching job somewhere, I'd have expected Turner to follow suit.
As it is, however, the Godfather of Texas Basketball is staying put and his son Jai Lucas remains a key assistant coach on Rick Barnes' staff. Which means Texas still has the same edge with Myles Turner.
I have to say, I haven't been able to find anyone who can offer anything that could be considered definitive as to where Turner will commit -- somewhat unusual with such a high profile player -- as the Turners have truly locked down on sharing anything on the decision outside the family. And forget about me: I'm told that the coaches of the finalists won't know Turner's decision until tomorrow afternoon.
Turner could buck expectations by announcing his commitment to SMU, Duke, Oklahoma State, A&M or Ohio State, but if it's not a Texas hat on Turner's head on Wednesday afternoon, in all likelihood it'll be Rock Chalk blue. Bill Self is a terrific closer and is awfully hard to beat out for his top targets, which is why some recruiting analysts just can't quite make themselves pick against him.
It's understandable, but for once, Self is probably the underdog in this one; I still like our chances to sign Turner. If we do, Turner will grab the last available scholarship to round out what is shaping up to be an exceptionally deep and impressive frontcourt next season (and perhaps the season after, if he were to spend two years in Austin like Lamarcus Aldridge did, to whom Turner favorably compares): Jonathan Holmes will be back this fall; Cam Ridley, Prince Ibeh, and Connor Lammert all have two years of eligibility left; and 6'9 power forward Shaquille Cleare is returning home from Maryland and will be eligible to play for the Longhorns in 2015-16.
Like Lamarcus Aldridge, Turner is a player whose developmental curve will limit his impact at the collegiate level relative to his peak capabilities. And he's not a make-or-break player for next year's Texas team. Or for Rick Barnes, for that matter. Still, you should covet openly and deeply when Myles Turner takes center stage this afternoon. We may not need Turner to come to Texas, but he brings with him some really exciting possibilities that don't come along very often for college basketball teams, if at all.
So let's do this, Myles. Pick up that Longhorns hat. Put it on, and keep it on. You'll look great in burnt orange.