Before They Made It: Myles Turner

Myles Turner Myles Turner (photo: Sam Forencich/USA Basketball)

As a member of the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s Junior Select National Team, Myles Turner helped produce a win at the 17th annual Nike Hoop Summit on April 12.  Turner, a 6-foot-11 center from Bedford, Texas, was the only USA player among that elite group of high school seniors yet to declare where he’ll be going to college in the fall.

He’ll make that announcement on April 30 in a live broadcast on ESPN. But before he embarks on the next stage of his basketball journey, we caught up with his father, David Turner, to talk about Myles' youth experiences.

USA Basketball: What was Myles like as a child?

He had a normal childhood, very rambunctious and playful. He entertained himself a lot. Played with his blocks, enjoyed going out to the park.

USA Basketball: How did he become active in the sport and develop his skills?

Myles started with baseball back around the fourth grade. He was a really good baseball player. One year, after a season in which he went undefeated, myself and three other dads who were coaching our boys, for some reason we decided to go with a different coach the next season. And this coach was just horrible -- just really killed my son’s spirit for baseball. I refused to let him lose his love for baseball, because that’s my sport. That’s when I started coaching him, in about the fifth grade. Of course we always had a basketball net in the backyard, and we would shoot around out there. But he was really a baseball player at first. At around fifth grade we switched to basketball and that’s when I was teaching him how to play. I’d teach him how to play the post, because he was always the tallest kid. If he didn’t have that bad experience with the baseball coach, he might have been the tallest baseball player out there!

USA Basketball: When did you realize Myles had what it takes to play basketball at a high level? 

He started in a YMCA league, and he was just a natural shot blocker. That’s one thing he loved to do, just being under the goal blocking everybody’s shot. With his height, I always knew he’d be special. But I didn’t realize he’d be seven feet tall. His growth spurt took me by surprise – myself, my brother and my dad, we’re all 6-5.

USA Basketball: What challenges did he have to overcome as a child?

Myles dealt then and he still does with asthma and allergies. He fought through those with medicine and by taking care of himself. From a playing standpoint, the main thing he needed to overcome was learning how to run. Myles would scoot when he ran, and the main thing he had to do was pick up his knees and cycle when he ran. That’s one of the main things his trainer has been working on with him.

USA Basketball: What advice do you have for the parents of young basketball players?

Just let your kid have fun with the game as long as possible. Soon enough it will be something where he’ll have to work very hard at it. Kids will always love the game, but they lose that fun, childlike appreciation of the game. Stay involved with them. Sometimes you come home from work, you’re tired and don’t want to go outside, but take the time to shoot some baskets or just watch them. Make sure your kid has fun with the game and you stay involved with them

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