In a move that surprised no one, Texas Longhorns forward Myles Turner declared for the 2015 NBA Draft on Monday morning by tweeting out a video of the highlights from his 11 months as a Longhorn.
"I've decided to forgo my education and enter the 2015 NBA Draft," Turner said. "I love the University and the atmosphere here, great education, great people, great basketball facilities. It's given me everything I need to succeed."
"It's really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make."
The consensus No. 6 prospect in the 2014 class, Turner committed to Texas on April 30 last season over a host of big-time programs, including Duke, Kansas, and Ohio State. At the time, Turner's pledge had the potential to become one of the most significant in recent Longhorns history.
However, a crowded front court helped limit Turner's production to 10.1 points per game (third on the team), though he was a prolific rebounding and shot blocker, leading the team with 6.5 rebounds per game and 2.6 blocks per game and earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors in the process. The final two numbers highlighted two of his major strengths as a player, along with his smooth mid-range jump shot.
Since Turner didn't show much of a true back-to-the-basket game as a freshman, that's an area of his game he will have to improve moving forward, according to Draft Express:
While not an explosive athlete, or incredibly tough and aggressive in the paint, his 9-2" standing reach gives him some potential on the block, and he shows solid touch on a hook shot with his right hand. He needs to diversify his post-up game, though, as he shows little in the way of counter moves and lacks any sort of a go-to move with his left hand. He could also stand to add some much-needed strength, as he frequently struggles to hold his ground in the post. Being one of the youngest players in this draft class, not turning 19 until March 24th, that will certainly improve with time and added physical development.
Because he lacks high-level athleticism, a developed offensive game, and struggled in the pick-and-roll defense as a freshman, there are concerns about Turner's long-term upside, but that probably won't stop him from coming off the board somewhere in the middle of the first round.
In fact, Draft Express has Turner in the No. 12 slot in the site's current mock draft.
While Turner didn't quite make the anticipated impact as the final piece of the 2014-15 puzzle, he did turn in a solid season and was by all accounts a great person. And with the departure of Rick Barnes, it's impossible to begrudge him this decision.
Best of luck in the league, Myles.