Texas Basketball: Myles Turner is Most Versatile Recruit in the Rick Barnes Era

By Cody Daniel
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Getty Images

During his 16-year tenure as the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, Rick Barnes has reeled in a cluster of elite talent from around the country including names like T.J. Ford, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley and the NBA’s current MVP, Kevin Durant. His latest prized recruit, Myles Turner, who was the No. 2 prospect in the country, has drawn comparisons to both Aldridge and Durant due to his build and shooting touch alike.

Of course, Turner will have some massive shoes to fill if he were to ever live up to the legacies Aldridge and Durant left behind, but there is something unique about Turner that makes him the most versatile recruit Barnes has reeled in thus far.

Aldridge was able to fill the role of both center and power forward for the Horns due to his unique skill-set and shooting touch. Then, of course, Durant is a freak of nature with his shooting range and 6-foot-11 frame, which allowed him to snag 11.1 rebounds per contest as a freshman. But again, Turner is so unique that Barnes will be able to utilize him in more ways than both Durant and Aldridge.

Listed as a 7-foot, 240-pound center, Turner could undoubtedly become the low-post anchor for Texas on both sides of the court. But Turner becoming the primary center is unlikely with his offensive arsenal and the fact that another former All-American in Cameron Ridley fills that role best.

Myles will probably be named the starting power forward by the time the 2014-15 season kicks off and this is where he can be most utilized with his post presence as well as his ability to stretch the floor and knock down jumpers consistently. This would allow Jonathan Holmes to slide over and play on the wing, which could become a valuable asset for Texas given that Holmes would develop his ball-handling a bit further.

But what separates Turner from previous Barnes recruits is his ability to play a third position as he could quite possibly be seen stepping out onto the wing to play small forward at times. Texas will have one of the deepest frontcourts in college basketball next season with a collection of guys who can impact the game in numerous ways. With their experience and talent in the post, it will be hard to keep Prince Ibeh, who is a tenacious rim protector, and Connor Lammert, who can help stretch the court as well, off the court for too long.

If Turner slides over to run the wing with Isaiah Taylor and another one of Texas’ countless gifted guards, this will make the Longhorns that much harder to both defend as well as put up points on. And for Turner, having a play-style similar to his childhood role model, Durant, an offseason of development to his quickness and ball-handling ability could see him becoming a starter on the wing before it’s all said and done.

Cody Daniel is a Big 12 Basketball Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter, Like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

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