ARLINGTON, Texas -- The first day of the Under Armour Invitational was short, lasting just a few hours, but the bevy of talent was noticeable nonetheless. Led by 7-footer Myles Turner and a few other talented big men, the UA Invitational got off on the right foot Friday evening.
Turner breaks out
Last year around this time, four-star center Turner wasn't able to compete on the AAU circuit. Nursing a broken ankle, the big man couldn't do much but cheer on his teammates.
This year, Turner's AAU life is a much different story.
Attracting nearly every top scout in the area, Turner took center stage on Friday night, healthy and dripping with potential. Showing off a nearly 7-foot frame with good athleticism, an ability to run the floor well and a not-in-my-paint defensive mentality, Turner put on a show of sorts and staked his claim as one of the top big men in the nation.
"It's just been great," Turner said of his evolution. "I didn't play last summer because I broke my ankle. So it's just great to be back on the scene and showcase everything I've been working hard on. It's lots of fun."
Turner logged double-digit blocks in his only game of the evening, and he added double-digit points too. While he's raw on the offensive end in terms of post moves, he said schools from all over the nation are lining up to recruit him.
"It's pretty much every major DI school has either offered or shown interest," Turner said.
Turner's not in a rush to narrow anything down, either. He knows he's on the verge of a big summer and offers are going to start coming in daily.
"I would say it wasn't unexpected," Turner said of his rise to a top recruit. "I've been preparing for this all my life, really. It's been great."
Turner said he will visit UCLA next weekend and he is looking to get to Arizona for an unofficial visit soon. Outside of those, he's letting everything else come to him.
"I'm just taking my time with it and cutting my list down to about 10 schools this summer," Turner said. "I'm not ready to commit any time soon; I just want to focus on basketball."
A little more than 24 hours later, the big man was on the floor in Texas feeling as free as ever.
"I feel like you can play much better if you don't have to worry about the recruiting process," Thompson said. "If you're committed and you know where you're going, I feel like you can play much better and you don't have to worry about it."
That's why Thompson called Razorbacks head coach Mike Anderson this week and told him he was ready to end his recruiting process.
"I was just thinking about it Wednesday night, and it just clicked," Thompson said. "Me and my mom were talking, and I just came to the conclusion Thursday morning. I was feeling it, so I just called Coach A and told him, 'Hey, I want to be a Razorback.' "
Thompson picked Arkansas over Memphis, Florida and Mississippi State, he said.
A hint at a leader?
Four-star power forward Brekkott Chapman's UCLA offer is in a state of limbo right now as the program transitions from Ben Howland's staff to Steve Alford's, but once it becomes official, the Utah product may be ready to name a leader.
"They've talked to me most outside of the state (of Utah)," Chapman said of the Bruins. "I really like it down there. I've only been there two times for tournaments over the past few years, and it's probably one of my favorite places to go."
Chapman should see his UCLA offer solidified next week. The forward said he'll take an unofficial visit to Westwood on May 31. If the offer does come, the Bruins could be the team to beat for the Rivals150 prospect.
Three-star Rivals150 wing Malek Harris said he believes Missouri is close to coming with an offer. The 6-foot-7 forward also said he's looking to take an unofficial visit to Marquette at the end of this month.
Three-star point guard Kahron Ross said Tulsa is the latest school to offer him. He's also hearing more from Arkansas, Tennessee and Memphis.
One of the most intriguing 2016 prospects from Friday night was 6-foot-9 center Sedee Keita. He said he hasn't heard from any schools, but as a big man with his skill set in his grade, that will change soon.