NCB On The Trail: Oklahoma State Cowboys

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I don't believe Jabari Parker's decision on whether to turn pro has any bearing at all on the college decision of ESPN 100 No. 2 overall prospect Myles Turner.

Turner wanted to finish taking his visits and then try to figure out what his best option would be. He is done with visits; now it’s time for him to weigh all the pros and the cons. He is looking for a situation where he has a strong relationship with the head coach and the overall chemistry of the team. Furthermore, he wants a coach who has proven track record developing his players over the course of a year or over time, and preparing them for the next level will be important.

Whether Parker stays at Duke or declares for the NBA draft won't affect Turner's decision. His list of schools is still the same: Arizona, Duke, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Texas, SMU and Texas A&M. Look for him to make his decision sometime after the Jordan Brand Classic game, which is at 7 p.m. ET Friday on ESPN2.

Roundtable: ESPN 100 commit predictions 

April, 15, 2014
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The ESPN 100 has just three remaining uncommitted prospects, and the competition remains furious for their services.

Myles Turner, No. 2 in the ESPN 100, leads the way, followed by No. 94 Elijah Stewart, who was released from his letter of intent to Loyola Marymount following the firing of coach Max Good, and No. 98 Josh Cunningham.

Devonte Graham wasn’t ESPN 100 eligible by virtue of his post-graduate status, but there is no denying he is a wanted man after receiving his release from Appalachian State. He will take official visits to Kansas and North Carolina State while also considering Virginia, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Providence.

So where are these remaining four prospects headed? No one knows for sure just yet, but here are a few educated guesses:

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Scouting the country each year I’ll not only see players’ skills, athletic ability and basketball IQ, but I’ll also witness their character along the way. This year’s class might not have any NBA superstars at the moment, but it will have difference-makers for the college game, both in the short term as well as those who will make a difference in time because of their character traits combined with their talent.

As we wrap up the Class of 2014, here are my five final thoughts:

1. The land of the giants

[+] EnlargeJahlil Okafor
AP Photo/The Sun News/Charles SlateDuke center signee Jahlil Okafor finishes the season as the nation's top prospect.
When you look at the top of a class it's so rare to have three post players sitting in the top three spots. Jahlil Okafor, who held the top spot for much of the season, finishes the season as the nation’s top prospect. The center from Chicago is a dominating presence in the paint. A Duke signee, Okafor led his high school team to a 4A state championship and was named the McDonalds Morgan Wooten player of the year.

He is special because he scores down low in the paint with his back to the basket. His combination of size, touch and fluid footwork is too much for one defender and when he doesn’t score, he attracts a double-team, which gives his team an advantage. He operates with patience and poise and when he reads the double-team he will accurately pass out to the open man. Defensively he guards the post and is improving at ball-screen defense as he is a barrier to the rim for his team.

Myles Turner, the nation’s No. 2 prospect, challenged hard for the No. 1 position and shows a big upside. Turner, who is uncommitted, is an elite shot-blocker and scores baskets with a soft touch and range. Cliff Alexander is going to be an absolute difference-maker for Kansas with his ability to rebound, finish and block shots, and he does it in an aggressive manner. Trey Lyles is one of the most skilled post players in this group and his future teammate at Kentucky Karl Towns Jr. has franchise skill-to-size ratio. Thomas Welsh is a fundamentally sound big who will anchor the middle at UCLA.


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Recruit and return: Oklahoma State 

March, 21, 2014
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In order to return to the NCAA tournament, a team needs contributions from both returning players and incoming recruits. Here's a look at Oklahoma State and its chances of dancing again in 2015.

Quick references:
2013-14 roster
2014 recruiting

Possible 2014-15 starting five:
G: Jeff Newberry
G: Phil Forte III
F: Le'Bryan Nash
F: Michael Cobbins
C: Kamari Murphy


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When looking at the final four schools involved for JaQuan Lyle -- Oregon, Memphis, Oklahoma State and Kansas -- the one that lost out the most was Oklahoma State, as I believe it needed him more than the other schools.

Kansas has Naadir Tharpe and Frank Mason coming back next season to share the point. Tharpe has made steady progress at Kansas and will be a senior next season.

Memphis has ESPN 100 prospect Dominic Magee coming in. He will be sharing the point guard spot with Rashawn Powell, who sat out this season.

When you look at Oklahoma State’s returning roster, it doesn't have an obvious choice at the point guard spot. The Cowboys will be relying on junior college prospect Jeff Newberry.

Oregon landed Lyle and has a need for a pass-first point guard, as it allows Dominic Artis, who prefers to score first, to slide over to shooting guard at times. Lyle’s choice was not a surprise, as he visited every school and every school has a need for him.
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Only three players are left on the board in the ESPN 100, and Myles Turner is the only one who's a game-changer. But it doesn't mean there is talent out there who won't help a major program.

JaQuan Lyle, who is ranked No. 41, is a setup point guard with a strong body and is capable of playing as a freshman. His greatest assets are his passing ability and basketball IQ. He understands the game. Lyle plans on making his college decision soon and is down to Oregon, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Memphis.

No. 99 prospect Josh Cunningham is a hybrid forward who excels on the break and in defending in the half court. He has enough of offense to keep opponents honest and is looking at many schools, including Indiana and South Carolina.

There are always guys outside the top 100 who can help programs at different levels next season. If they are still unsigned in the late period, it could mean a lot of things. Some may be waiting on their grades, while others are still blossoming, and a few may be hoping for better offers.
The recruitment of Myles Turner is heating up.

[+] EnlargeMyles Turner
Kelly Kline/Under ArmourMyles Turner is the biggest name left on the 2014 recruiting board.
As the second-ranked prospect and best available player left in the ESPN 100, Turner has his choice of the most prestigious programs in the country, and he’s seen several of them in person in recent weeks.

Turner took an official visit to Duke last weekend to take in its victory over North Carolina and was at Kansas a few days earlier. Having previously taken official visits to Ohio State and Oklahoma State, he’ll save his fifth and final visit for Texas, but also might still take an unofficial trip to Kentucky before making his decision.

Turner is scheduled to participate in the McDonald’s All-American Game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit this spring, where he’ll play alongside several potential future teammates. With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of where he might fit in best, taking into consideration both each program’s likely personnel as well as their typical style of play:


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Myles Turner has taken official visits so far to Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Duke. He has been saying for a while his last visit will be to Texas.

I believe Kansas, with all of its prior success with big men under Bill Self, is being seriously considered. It's hard to imagine that Joel Embiid will stay in college with his progress and potential.

In terms of playing together, it would be easy as Turner can play in the high post, which is more of his natural position.

Embiid would stay more in the paint with his back to the basket. I will tell you this from witnessing Embiid in the past: He can shoot the ball better than the public knows, and that means if he goes to the high post, Turner can slide inside at anytime.

If Embiid stays at Kansas, the house will be a little more crowded with Cliff Alexander, Perry Ellis, Hunter Mickelson and Landen Lucas. It's a problem Self would certainly embrace.
There is a budding dynasty in prep school basketball, and it goes by the name Brewster Academy.

Winners of three of the last six New England prep titles and two of the last four national championships coming into the year, this season was supposed to be a "down” year for Brewster (Wolfeboro, N.H.). However, it turned into perhaps the Bobcats' most successful season in program history.

While this might not be the most individually talented team in Brewster history, it is probably the most cohesive collective unit. The Bobcats approached this season's National Prep Championship -- which they won on Wednesday -- as if they were on a mission. They competed for 40 minutes each time out, defended and shared the ball incredibly well. In fact, they had at least four players finish in double figures in all three of their wins.


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Roundtable: Identifying 2014's sleepers 

March, 4, 2014
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As the 2014 class winds down its final season of high school basketball, the ESPN 100 has been analyzed in virtually every way possible. We’ve broken down the top prospects, picked out the best fits, projected both the immediate impact players, and even forecast those who are likely to show the most improvement over their college careers.

But now we are giving each member of the RecruitingNation team one last chance to go on record with a prospect they believe in, a sleeper they expect to be better than most are projecting, whether it's right away or over time.

Here’s a look at who the experts have their eyes on:


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The recruiting process for Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity), the nation’s No. 2 overall prospect, is starting to pick up, as the McDonald's All American prepares to make a decision sometime during the spring/late signing period.

Turner has officially visited Ohio State and Oklahoma State already and scheduled an official visit to Duke for March 8, his father, David Turner, confirmed via text.

Turner will also unofficially visit in-state Texas A&M this weekend and has promised the Texas Longhorns the final official visit before making a final decision.

With Ohio State, Oklahoma State in the books, Duke scheduled and Texas promised the final visit, one official visit is still to be determined. Turner still has Kansas, Arizona, Kentucky and SMU fighting to host that trip, if Turner decides to use it.

Turner will bring a terrific face-up game along with excellent skill and tremendous shot blocking ability to the program he selects.

Biancardi's Breakdown: JaQuan Lyle 

February, 17, 2014
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video JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Huntington Prep), the highest-rated uncommitted perimeter player left in the ESPN 100, is in high demand as Kansas, Providence, Oregon, UConn, Memphis and Oklahoma State are in heavy pursuit of the Indiana native. He is one of the few players left in the 2014 class who could come in and contribute immediately to a major college program.

Let’s take a look at the latest on his recruitment, how his game has grown and what he can do to reach his potential.


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It's still early as Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Trinity) has only been to Ohio State for an official visit. Right now he is concentrating on his senior season and winning a state championship. He plans on taking an official visit to Oklahoma State, but whether it will be during or after his season is still undetermined. He has been to Austin, Texas, several times unofficially to check out the Longhorns.

When you look at all the schools involved -- Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas -- it’s obvious that this is going to be an absolute big-time recruiting battle for the nation’s No. 2 player. One of the biggest questions in his recruiting process is whether Turner wants to stay close to home. If so, that increases the chances for the Cowboys as well as the Longhorns. It's too early to give a percentage guess, but knowing he wants to and plans to visit Oklahoma State is very encouraging if you’re a Cowboys fan.
HOUSTON -- I caught up with ESPN 100 No. 2 overall Myles Turner (Euless, Texas/Trinity) on Saturday in Houston before his game against ESPN 100 No. 14 Justise Winslow (Houston/St. John’s) at the Fonde Hall of Fame games to get a recruiting update and see how the season was going.

Turner, the top uncommitted/unsigned player in the land, is considering Oklahoma State, Texas, Ohio State, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and Kansas. The center has officially visited only Ohio State and had to cancel an official visit to Oklahoma State several weeks ago because of weather.


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Scout's take: Joe Burton to Okla. State 

October, 21, 2013
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ESPN 100 SF Joe Burton (Porter, Texas/Luthern North) has committed to Oklahoma State over Oklahoma and Oregon. Burton's commitment means the Cowboys and coach Travis Ford now have two ESPN 100 prospects in the fold, including SG Jared Terrell.

Let's break down Burton's decision and what it will mean to Oklahoma State:


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