Myles Turner

Photo Credit: Emmanuel Briseño | Daily Texan Staff

Jarrett Allen continues to shine as the Brooklyn Nets provide the young center with more opportunities, while Myles Turner struggles to stay on the court for the Indiana Pacers. Here’s an update on how Allen and Turner have done in the
NBA recently:

Jarrett Allen, Brooklyn Nets

Although the Nets managed a 1–2 record in the last week, Allen continued to put up impressive numbers. Allen averaged 16.7 points and eight rebounds over the span of the week.

Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson continued to increase Allen’s usage rate, leading to more plays designed solely for the former Longhorn big man. Allen had a usage rate of 22.9 percent in the win against the Philadelphia 76ers last Wednesday. He scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds against All-Star center Joel Embiid. Allen continued to improve his range, scoring four of his points from 12 feet or
beyond. But Allen also tallied four turnovers.

Allen followed his performance against the 76ers with a season-high 20 points and five rebounds in a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. Allen, who also had a season-high 26.2 percent usage rate, scored the first six points for the Nets. He continued to demonstrate a proficiency with the pick and roll, scoring 15 of his 20 points involving a ball screen.

Allen should continue to have more of these types of games as the season progresses. The competition for minutes at his position is low, with both Timofey Mozgov and Jahlil Okafor struggling to play consistently on both ends of the floor the way Allen has. Although he didn’t make Team USA for the Rising Stars Game during All-Star weekend, Allen should manage a spot on the All-Rookie team if he keeps up this level of production.

Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers

Turner returned to the Pacers’ lineup on Jan. 27, but now the third-year pro finds himself suffering from a sprained right knee. Turner has already battled a litany of injuries this season, including a sore elbow, sore thigh, sore calf, another sore right knee, tweaked ankle and sore neck. Turner has missed 16 games in total after missing only one game all of
last season.

Turner had played well for the small stretch that he returned for, averaging 12 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in the five-game span. Turner’s ability to shoot threes makes him hard to defend since it allows the Pacers to space the floor. Although he missed the previous nine games, Turner was still able to hit six-of-13 from three.

But Turner struggled against the 76ers on
Saturday. He missed all five of his shots, committed three fouls, grabbed only three rebounds and played for just 15 minutes. Reports indicated that the bad play could be attributed to Turner’s soreness in his knee. The former Texas forward could use some much-needed rest during the approaching All-Star break.

Texas forward Myles Turner announced Monday that he will declare for the 2015 NBA draft. Turner averaged 10.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 22.2 minutes per game during his freshman year at Texas.
Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced early Monday through Twitter and a YouTube video that he will be entering his name in the 2015 NBA Draft.

“My name is Myles Turner, UT alum, and I’ve decided to forgo my education and enter my name into the 2015 NBA draft,” Turner said in the video.

Turner, who was as a one-and-done candidate as soon as he put on his burnt orange bucket hat and committed to the University of Texas last spring, is a projected lottery pick.

“It’s really hard to say goodbye, but this is a decision I had to make,” Turner said. “I will forever be indebted to the Longhorns fans and the University of Texas.”

Turner, who came to Texas as a five-star prospect, never quite lived up to the expectations placed on him so early in his career, despite earning Big 12 Freshman of the Year and finding a spot on the All-Big 12 third team.

He averaged 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in just 22.2 minutes per game, with most of his big games coming against weaker competition, such as St. Francis and Lipscomb, in which he scored 25 and 26, respectively.

Turner led the Big 12 in blocks, and he was consistent throughout the season with his quick, face-up, high-release jumper from the post.  

“I love the University, love the atmosphere here,” Turner said in the video. “Great education, great people, great basketball program and facilities — given everything I need to succeed.”

Turner turned 19 years old last week after playing the full season at age 18. His announcement came a day after head coach Rick Barnes officially left the program after 17 years.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

Texas freshman forward Myles Turner announced via Twitter early Monday that he will be declaring for the 2015 NBA Draft.

Turner tweeted his farewell along with a link to a YouTube video that gave a timeline of his year with the Longhorns and officially confirmed his decision to leave. 

Thank you #longhornnation it's been real! #hookemforever

Turner, a Bedford native, was a highly recruited high school athlete before making his decision to come to Texas last spring. The 6-foot-11 freshman averaged 10.1 points per game during his only season with the Longhorns, also tallying 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game.

His decision comes a day after Texas head coach Rick Barnes was fired from the program. To read more about Barnes' departure, click here.

Turner is expected to be drafted in the first round. 

Photo Credit: Amy Zhang | Daily Texan Staff

All season long, I waited for Texas to take advantage of the size.

I’ve waited for them to consistently feed junior center Cameron Ridley and freshman forward Myles Turner. Ridley’s mass is unequaled. Turner’s height and skill unparalleled. Heck, even feed senior forward Jonathan Holmes the rock in the post as he can take advantage of the smaller defenders that constantly guard him.

But time after time, Texas has settled for the three where they are shooting a pedestrian 34 percent.

In the first game of the Big 12 championships in Kansas City, I finally got a glimpse of how effective and efficient this Longhorns offense could be when they look inside first. In a 15-minute stretch against Tech, Texas played the best ball it had all season—and it did so without attempting a three.

Sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor attacked the rim for the dish or the score. Ridley created space and finished. Turner and Holmes also got plenty of touches.

All was going well. The bigs were happy. The guards were happy. Head coach Rick Barnes was happy. It looked like Texas finally figured it out.
Then they regressed right back into their old ways the very next game against Iowa State. They shot 22 threes. Ridley got just four shot attempts. Turner two. Holmes attempted just three from beneath the arc. The fact Texas was making their threes masked that Texas was once against not looking to pound it inside.

In the round of 64, though, Texas will be playing an undersized Butler team that rebounds extremely well. That means the Longhorns will need to force it inside. Ridley’s man will weigh 85 pounds less. Turner will have at least two inches on whomever guards him. Holmes will have a mismatch.
Those three will be the key. They have to want it. Ridley will have to work to create space (a pesky Butler team won’t let him get it easily). Turner has to want the ball and be ready to catch it. Holmes has to find his way inside rather than floating to the corner. That will result in high percentage looks.

If Texas can do that, it should be able to take advantage of its fortuitous draw against an undersized Bulldog team and live to see another day. If they settle for threes, the Horns will cap off an extremely disappointing season in a disappointing fashion.

Check out our additional March Madness coverage:

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Freshman forward Myles Turner has put up a double-double in the last two games. He is one of the key factors for a long run in the postseason.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

The second Myles Turner signed, many thought that Texas could win the National Championship. 

Turner being on a team that made it to the third round of the NCAA tournament the previous year had fans hopeful.

Turner was Texas’ highest-rated signee since Avery Bradley in 2009, and, although Bradley did not really improve during his lone season in Austin, there were some reasons for fans to be optimistic about Turner’s impact on the team. Although Barnes has recently struggled to develop highly touted guards, he helped improve forward Tristan Thompson into the No. 4 overall pick during his lone season in Austin.

Turner’s addition meant another big man in Texas’ frontcourt rotation, and that should have been a key factor in the Longhorns pursuit of wins. Plus, the versatility of his offensive game was supposed to help offset one of the team’s most blatant deficiencies: the lack of reliable 3-point shooters.

This has not been the case, though, as the offense is producing 107.1 points per 100 possessions — just 0.1 points more than it scored per 100 possessions in 2013–2014. These offensive woes are being magnified in conference play, in which the Longhorns are averaging 7 fewer points against Big 12 foes and giving up 11 more points per game than they did throughout non-conference play.

Meanwhile, Turner isn’t logging the amount of minutes expected from a player with his unique skill set on both ends of the court. 

His playing time ranks fifth on the team, and that may not even be the result of a crowded frontcourt, In fact, Turner’s minutes dropped slightly in the two games senior forward Jonathan Holmes missed because of a concussion.

Turner followed his 25-point, 12-rebound performance in Saturday’s win over Texas Tech with 17 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s loss at Oklahoma. The loss to the Sooners was the first time the Longhorns lost a game in which Turner finished with at least nine rebounds.

This season being Turner’s only one at Texas is certainly a possibility, and, with back-to-back double-doubles, it appears that he’s ready to be the best player on the floor. The question still remains whether Barnes will actually give the Thompson-esque freshman playing time down the stretch.

With only five games left before the conference tournament and Texas needing to win more games to make the field of 68, the time is now for Turner to log significant minutes. If the Longhorns are to make a run in March, their talented freshman will need to lead the way.

Junior guard Kendal Yancy turned in 14 points, tying a career high, and freshman forward Myles Turner put up his second straight double-double. However, their big games were for naught as Texas blewa late-game lead to fall to No. 17 Oklahoma, 71–69.
Photo Credit: Joe Capraro | Daily Texan Staff

The Longhorns had a chance to steal one in Norman, Oklahoma, on Tuesday night.

Big nights from sophomore guard Kendal Yancy and freshman forward Myles Turner had the Longhorns up 5 with 3:34 left. The offense was running smoothly, and the defense was playing hard. It looked as though Texas had No. 17 Oklahoma on the ropes in what could have been a huge conference road win for head coach Rick Barnes and company.

Then Oklahoma sophomore guard Jordan Woodard hit a three. Senior forward TaShawn Thomas followed with a three-point play. Woodard finished an acrobatic layup, and junior forward Ryan Spangler found himself free for a layup on a pick-and-roll.

And, just like that, Texas (17–9, 6–7 Big 12) let one slip right through its hands as Oklahoma escaped, 71–69.

“We did a lot of good things tonight,” Barnes said. “We’re close, but close doesn’t get it done.”

Yancy, who started his fourth straight game, hit big shots for the Longhorns and seems to be finding his confidence. Yancy tied his career high in points with 14 while bringing down six boards.

But with the game on the line and the Longhorns down 2 with just seconds left, it was senior forward Jonathan Holmes who took the big shot for the Longhorns and clanked a deep three from dead on.

Texas almost overcame its turnover problem and ran a smooth offense for most of the game. Oklahoma forced Texas into 13 turnovers, at times instilling a full-court press. The Sooners, on the other hand, took good care of the rock, committing only five turnovers. Texas, despite having athletic players across the board, currently sits last — by a large margin — in the conference in forced turnovers.

For weeks, Texas has been in the zone defense, but against Oklahoma and its plethora of shooters, Texas went back to a man defense. Until the end, the defense was strong, as it held Oklahoma to 36 percent shooting. Turner and junior center Prince Ibeh protected the rim, assisting in a team-record-tying 13 blocks.

After a slow start, Turner turned in his second straight double-double. He scored 17 points with 10 boards and six blocks.

“I feel more confident,” Turner said. “But I still feel like I need to get the ball in the post, that mid-range area.”

Junior guard Javan Felix was efficient with his shots today, as he was perfect from downtown to score 10 points on just six shots.

While Turner, Yancy and Felix turned in admirable performances in a tough road environment, Holmes and sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor disappointed. Holmes was 1-of-6 from deep, with the one being a meaningless, open shot at the buzzer. Taylor was 1-of-10 from the field and disappeared late in the game.

“We just put so much pressure on [Taylor] to do good things,” Yancy said. “On this bus ride home, I’m going to check on him.”

As a team, Texas struggled yet again from long range, connecting on just 8-of-23. Inside the arc, however, Texas shot 50 percent.

Texas head coach Rick Barnes coaches freshman forward Myles Turner. Barnes earned his 600th Divison I victory Wednesday after the Longhorns beat TCU.
Photo Credit: Griffin Smith | Daily Texan Staff

For the past few weeks, head coach Rick Barnes has faced questions about his job security. 

His team, which many picked to unseat Kansas as the Big 12 champion, has struggled mightily on offense and finds themselves near the bottom of the conference. But Wednesday, after defeating TCU to earn his 600th Division I victory, Barnes was all smiles. 

Instead of asking questions about what’s wrong with Texas’ offense or whether the expectations for Myles Turner are too high, all anybody wanted to know was how Barnes felt after reaching a milestone — one only 30 other coaches have reached.

But he didn’t want to talk about himself.

“I’m not just saying this, but winning the game tonight was more important than that,” Barnes said after the game. “Because I still have a lot of faith and confidence in this group of guys, and they deserve it.”

Then he went on to mention everybody else that helped him. He praised the athletic directors he worked with. He praised his players. He praised his coaching staff — even going on a bit of rant about watching the children of Todd Wright, his assistant of 21 years, grow up.

“I truly love what I do,” Barnes said. “But the best part really has always been the relationships and the interaction every day with people you enjoy being with.”

Growing up in Hickory, North Carolina, Barnes wasn’t a big-time player. He stayed in his hometown, playing at small-time Lenoir-Rhyne College before transitioning into coaching. At 33-years-old, he became a head coach at George Mason.

“Obviously, I’ve been fortunate and blessed,” Barnes said. “I became a head coach at a very young age, and I’ve worked for great institutions.”

Barnes has seen and done a lot in his career. He watched as future Hall-of-Famer Tim Duncan slipped right through his grasp at Providence, as the school’s president wouldn’t let Barnes sign the big man from the Virgin Islands without a scholarship open, despite the fact two of his players were in the process of transferring. 

He confronted the late, legendary North Carolina coach Dean Smith face-to-face in the ACC tournament about Clemson’s hard, physical play — an 
interaction that still draws the ire of North Carolina fans.

He then guided two Longhorns, T.J. Ford and Kevin Durant, to National Player of the Year honors while taking Texas to 15 NCAA tournaments in 16 years.

Nearly everyone around him likes playing for him. If his players ever want to talk, he is available. He spent hours on the phone with Ford. Recently, he has mentioned long late-night conversations with senior forward Jonathan Holmes and freshman Myles Turner.

“He treats us like we were men,” said junior center Cam Ridley. “[He] talks to us about more than basketball; talks to us about life.”

“He teaches us how to grow up and be men — helps us grow both on and off the court,” junior guard Javan Felix added.

But while the regular season wins keep piling up, the big ones still elude him. He’s 20–20 in the NCAA tournament, making just one Final Four appearance in 2003. He’s won just one post-season conference tournament championship at Providence in 1994.

For him, 600 isn’t a goal, but a part of the path. And Tuesday night, that path leads him to Norman, Oklahoma, to take on the No. 17 Sooners to start a brutal stretch of five straight games against ranked opponents. 

When freshman Myles Turner gets the ball in the post, he is dangerous. However, this season, Texas has struggled to feed the post as its offensive woes continue.

Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

Against Kansas on Saturday, No. 19 Texas took nearly seven minutes to get the ball to the post. How do head coach Rick Barnes and his towering starting lineup go so long without feeding the highly recruited big men?

“Good question. I’ve been asking these guys the same thing,” Barnes said.

It seems simple. With one of the tallest starting lineups in the nation, the Longhorns should be pounding the post hard and often. Among 6-foot-9 junior center Cam Ridley, 6-foot-11 freshman forward Myles Turner and 6-foot-8 senior forward Jonathan Holmes, the Longhorns shouldn’t be worried about getting the ball down low, but about which one of their big men is going to score when they do. 

“They’re huge,” Kansas sharpshooter Brannen Greene said after a 75-62 win Saturday. “They start like 21 feet of big men.”

Having a game plan and executing one are two different things, as Barnes has learned lately. He knows Texas needs to have more of an inside-out game. He’s enforcing it in practices. But he’s “baffled” as to why his players won’t do it in games.

“We’re one of the biggest teams in the country,” Holmes said. “I don’t think we take advantage of it like we should.”

In a pair of recent losses, the Texas offense looked lost and confused. They aren’t in the top 100 in points per game. They aren’t in the top 150 in field goal percentage.

“We’re not quite sure of our identity,” Barnes admitted.

More than midway through the season, that’s not ideal.

But for the first time in a while, Texas finally started looking to the post with a purpose Monday night. Turner got in a groove to give Texas an early boost. But as the game got away from the Longhorns, naturally, so did the inside-out game.

There are more advantages to working the ball down low than just points in the paint. It would open up many other opportunities, as many teams are prepared to double because of the height difference. Double teams down low could open up easier outside shots or lead to open drives for the guards.

Instead, the Longhorns have relied on shots from behind the arc, where — despite a 10-for-15 second half performance Monday — they are still shooting just .325 in conference play.  

“I’m disappointed in the fact we settled for so many jump shots,” Barnes said.

With the Big 12 title hopes quickly evaporating, the players are starting to finally realize how costly their poor shot selection is, and they are ready to make adjustments.

“I got to do a better job of feeding the post,” sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor said.

Junior center Cameron Ridley has bounced back from his injury with 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in the past two games. This comes after Ridley only scored 7 points in the two previous games, both losses for the Longhorns.

Photo Credit: Ethan Oblak | Daily Texan Staff

No. 11 Kansas has won the Big 12 regular season title for 10 consecutive years. The last time someone other than the Jayhawks won the conference, freshman forward Myles Turner was in the third grade. Let that sink in for a minute.

Yes, it’s been a while. But, in the preseason, many deemed this year as the one in which Kansas’ conference dominance could come to an end — not because the Jayhawks lacked the depth and talent of previous years, but because Texas finally seemed capable of dethroning the reigning conference kings.

Saturday at 1 p.m., the Longhorns have their chance to make good on those predictions.

Of course, it won’t be easy. The Jayhawks boast depth and balance few teams in college basketball can match.

Kansas poses threats both inside the paint and around the arc. Turner and the rest of Texas’ big men will have their hands full between junior forward Perry Ellis, who leads the team with 12.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and freshman forward Cliff Alexander. Kansas also boasts an impressive trio of guards: sophomore Frank Mason III, freshman Wayne Selden Jr. and freshman Kelly Ourbre Jr.

Texas just might have a shot, as they seemed to be clicking on all cylinders in the last two games. The Longhorns won convincingly over No. 18 West Virginia and on the road against TCU after a pair of ugly losses early in conference play.

Following an up-and-down start to the season, junior center Cameron Ridley seemed to have found himself in the last two wins. He totaled 29 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks in the two victories after scoring only seven points in the previous two games. After the win over West Virginia, Ridley said his goal against Kansas is to replicate what he did against the Mountaineers.

“[I want to] just come in the game with the same confidence and play as hard as I can,” Ridley said. “You play hard and good things happen, so that’s what I’m going to keep focusing on doing.”

The Longhorns need a strong performance from Ridley to combat the Kansas big men. Same goes for sophomore point guard Isaiah Taylor against the Jayhawks’ loaded backcourt.

After making only 19-of-40 field goal attempts in his first four games back from a broken left wrist, Taylor exploded against TCU on Monday for 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while racking up seven rebounds and six assists. The Longhorns could use a similar performance Saturday to bring down Kansas.

The Big 12 has waited a long time for someone to finally dethrone Kansas as the conference’s tyrant. Saturday, the Longhorns might do just that.

Junior center Prince Ibeh and a tall frontcourt for Texas are sending back shots at a record pace. They are second in the nation in blocks per game, while first in total blocks and percentage of shots blocked.
Photo Credit: Shelby Tauber | Daily Texan Staff

It’s no secret the Longhorns boast plenty of size this season — six of their 10 scholarship players are listed at 6 feet 6 inches or taller. Size in the frontcourt gave the team a fighting chance against No. 1 Kentucky on Dec. 5, and after a half of play, the teams entered the break knotted up at 26.

Ultimately, however, the Wildcats — who have 10 players 6 feet 6 inches or taller — were able to prevent the Longhorns from doing what they do best: block shots. Texas blocked a season-low one shot and allowed the Wildcats to pull away early in the second half and maintain their lead through a longhorn comeback at the end of the game.

This contest was an anomaly compared to the nearly eight shots the Longhorns have, on average, blocked per game this season. After Monday night’s game, they still lead the nation in blocked shots with 139 in 18 contests.

Sports-Reference’s advanced metrics on blocked shots estimate that 21.3 percent of the 2-point field goals attempted by Texas’ opponents have resulted in blocks, which is the best rate in the nation. Kentucky and UNLV are tied for second at 19.9 percent.

If Texas continues to reject opponents’ shots at this rate, the Longhorns will finish the season with the highest Sports-Reference block percentage since 2009-2010, when Mississippi State finished the season at 23.6 percent.

Leading the blocking charge is freshman forward Myles Turner, who swats 12.2 percent of opponents’ two point attempts when he is on the floor. That number leads the conference among qualified players.

Through 18 games Turner has blocked 48 shots, giving him a promising shot of breaking the University record for blocks in a season — 92 by Chris Owens in the 2000-2001 season — in what will likely be his lone season in Austin.

Turner is not the only player with a shot at setting a school record. If the team continues its current pace of blocking shots, it’ll easily shatter the program record of 206 set last season. Overall, this team has rejected 13.4 percent of field goals attempted by opponents, which is easily the highest percentage by a Texas team since the 1979-1980 season, when blocked shots were first recorded.

Solid interior defense is nothing new for a team led by head coach Rick Barnes — 12 of the 13 Texas teams that have blocked the highest percentage of opponent shots on record were teams coached by Barnes.

The Longhorns should get their hands on plenty of shots this Saturday when they host No. 11 Kansas Jayhawks, who have had 99 of their field goal attempts sent back this season — the second most in the nation.

Although the quantity of shots the Longhorns block does not really seem to correlate with whether the team wins — the team is averaging 7.25 blocks in losses and 7.86 blocks in wins — Texas has proven to be elite in that regard this season and is swatting its way into the record books.