Basketball fans dream about walking through the tunnels at Allen Fieldhouse or hitting a buzzer-beater against North Carolina at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
But not many imagine hitting a game-winning shot at the Frank Erwin Center.
So why would Myles Turner, the lone uncommitted five-star recruit in the 2014 class, choose to attend Texas?
The 6-foot-10 high school senior, who attends Trinity High School, could potentially transform whatever school he chooses to attend into a legitimate championship contender. He can knock down jumpers, dominate inside and protect the rim.
Seven schools are still chasing him: Duke, Kansas, SMU, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Ohio State and Texas.
Some reports have Turner leaning toward Texas — he even tweeted admiration of the school last week. But if I were Turner, I would take the nod of recent Texas high school greats and spurn the Longhorns.
Kentucky’s Julius Randle, Baylor’s Isaiah Austin and class of 2014 five-star recruit and SMU committ Emmanual Mudiay all chose other schools.
Here are a few reasons why.
— The Atmosphere
No matter how successful the basketball program is for Texas, it isn’t football.
Longhorn fans aren’t the most passionate about basketball. Fans don’t show up for nonconference game, and only games against Oklahoma and Kansas seem to get fans on their feet.
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.
— The Spotlight
Texas basketball doesn’t get a lot of attention around Austin.
Even though the team was ranked in the top 20 this past season, the only thing Longhorn fans could pay attention to was the beginning of new football head coach Charlie Strong’s program. Part of this is attributable to the Big 12 Conference itself, as it’s not too flashy. 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 ACC, Big 10 and even the AAC had more weeks in the top 10 than the Big 12. While the No. 20 and No. 21 teams matching up is a good game, the country will always pay more attention to perennial top-5 teams. If Turner went to Duke or Ohio State, he would have more high-profile games to boost his stock.
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.
Close proximity to home and following the path of his favorite player Kevin Durant are compelling reasons for Turner to attend Texas. But, with the wealth of experience he could gain elsewhere, are the Longhorns really the best place for Turner to play in college?