When Shawn Williams first saw Myles Turner, he was going into the ninth grade and stood 6-foot-6 with a size 18 shoe.
Williams knew right away that Turner would he’d be a star someday.
“He had great timing,” said Williams, who was Turner’s AAU coach. “He could block shots real well. All his hard work got him to where he is now.”
Turner, who was a standout at Euless Trinity High School and the University of Texas, is entering his third season in the NBA with the Indiana Pacers.
He averaged 14.5 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game last season while starting 81 games.
“I remember when we played in Las Vegas and we had evaluators come see him play and we thought then that he a chance to be pretty good,” Williams said.
Turner is an emerging superstar, but appears most comfortable when he returns to his hometown. It’s almost as if he doesn’t know how to be famous yet.
Always humble, Turner remains close with his hometown community. He was back in Euless this past weekend, hosting his second annual Back 2 School Basketball Clinic. The camp was for boys and girls ages 7-16.
“We teach the basics of basketball. My main message is that no one can do everything for a team — it takes a whole group to accomplish a goal,” Turner said. “I want to provide a safe and fun environment.”
Earlier this month, Turner threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the Texas Rangers-Detroit Tigers game at Globe Life Park.
“What you see is what you get,” Williams said. “That’s who he is — genuine and just a great kid.”
After leaving Euless, Turner spent one season in Austin before the Pacers selected him 11th overall in the 2015 NBA Draft.
As a rookie, Turner played in 60 games and started in 30 while averaging 10.4 points and 5.5 rebounds. He made the all-rookie third team.
“He’s still humble and hungry, and still chasing to be great,” Williams said. “I don’t think he’ll ever be satisfied. It’s something that will always motivate him to strive to be the best he can be.”
Turner continues to grow as a player as he becomes a more focal point of the Pacers with Paul George now in Oklahoma City.
“All my life, I’ve worked at all aspects of my game and that’s something that I’ll continue doing,” he said. “I want to be able to be more of a threat down low this season. I’m working on my jump shot, my post game and being able to score out of the double teams.”
A first appearance in the All-Star game is on Turner’s radar, but he’d rather help his team to a playoff berth.
“Biggest thing is the playoffs,” he said. “I’m not too worried about individual goals — of course I want to be an All-Star, but I just want to help my team to the playoffs.”
And with George gone, could Turner be the new face of the franchise? He called it something else.
“I’m one of the focal points of the team now,” Turner said. “People might say the new face of the franchise, but I call it just another opportunity.”