Asked what might attract him to being a Charlotte Hornet, Texas center Myles Turner paid homage Friday to a Hall of Famer.
“Learning under a person like Patrick Ewing would be awesome,” said Turner, who did a solo workout at Time Warner Cable Arena.
This was the ninth and possibly last Hornets pre-draft workout before Thursday’s NBA draft. The Hornets hold the ninth and 39th overall picks and Turner, who spent a single season in college basketball, would be in the mix for No. 9.
Clearly he has an appreciation for basketball history. Ewing, the Hornets’ associate head coach, scored nearly 25,000 points over a 17-season NBA career and was one of the league’s all-time best centers.
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The NBA draft isn’t a recruitment process, but it can’t hurt that Turner was duly impressed by the makeup of the Hornets’ staff. In his one college season Turner averaged 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.6 shots blocked.
For Turner, this was the fifth of eight workouts leading up to Thursday. He still has visits to the Detroit Pistons (picking eighth), the Miami Heat (picking 10th) and the New York Knicks (picking fourth).
Turner was soaked in sweat when he met with media Friday, but he said the Hornets weren’t looking just to test his endurance and conditioning.
“It was quick and to the point. They just wanted to see me do a couple of things. Dunk a little bit, get up-and-down,” said Turner, who is 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds. “If it happens to be one-on-none, then you get to show off your individual skills, but I’m just happy to get a call.”
What did he hope to show off?
“My ability to learn on the fly, to adapt,” Turner said. “And let them see me shoot the ball.”
In the last five minutes, when media were admitted to the practice facility, Turner seemed to have surprising shooting range for a 6-foot-11 player who has spent most of his career in the low post. He took 62 3-pointers at Texas last season, making 17 (27.4 percent). That isn’t anything special, but he had good form Friday outside the NBA 3-point line.
“NBA range, I started adding that this summer. I didn’t work on that much in college, but I’ve always been able to shoot on the outside,” Turner said. “That’s something my parents were always on me about. They had me shooting since I came out of the womb.”
Sometimes these workouts, particularly the solo ones, can feel like drudgery. Turner seemed to enjoy himself Friday. He thanked every Hornets official in the gym, even shaking hands with assembled media.
“I’ve been anxious for the last two months. Since first day training in Vegas,” Turner said. “You’re supposed to take this situation day-by-day, but just to be in this position is awesome.”
Bonnell: 704-358-5129; @rick_bonnell