When the recruiting process started for Javier Turner, playing for an NCAA Division I school didn’t enter his mind.
The 6-foot-11, 230-pound Turner didn’t start playing basketball until he was in middle school. As a senior, Turner didn’t play a full season at Northwest High in Omaha, Nebraska, because he transferred from another school. His statistics were solid – 10.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 13 games.
There was interest from Division I schools, including some well-known ones such as Tennessee, LSU, Providence and Creighton. However, none made offers.
“I was looking into going the prep school or junior college route to develop my game,” Turner said.
Fourth-year University of Wyoming coach Allen Edwards and his staff saw enough in Turner to be the first school to offer him a scholarship in the spring, and Turner jumped on the opportunity. He is one of five newcomers to the Cowboys’ 2019-20 roster.
“It is good to see interest, but Wyoming had complete faith in me. That meant a lot,” Turner said.
Edwards has used the words “tremendous” and “unbelievable” to describe Turner’s potential. However, there is a lot of work and learning to be done to start tapping into that potential. That began about a month ago as the entire team arrived on campus for workouts, practice and summer school.
“Talking to his high school coach, he said (Turner) needs more repetition on the court,” Edwards said. “Early on, you see him out there and sometimes you wonder what you have. Then there are times you are like, ‘Oh my gosh.’
“It is about taking the information we give him and applying it. If he stays the course, he has a chance. Right now, if you were to give him a written test on the game and what we do, he would get an ‘A,’ but if you asked him to do it on the floor it wouldn’t be an ‘A.’”
Edwards and his staff have not made any decisions on which players will redshirt this season, but Turner is a possibility. However, Edwards said that game reps could be the best thing for Turner’s early development.
Turner, known as “Big J” by his teammates and coaches, said the learning curve this summer for him has been “so-so,” which includes more than basketball.
“The college schedule, even for the summer, takes some getting used to from morning workouts, the long classes and then trying to come into the gym and putting in work every day,” Turner said.
“The altitude doesn’t help, either. I’m getting used to it, but when I first got here I felt like I was going to die.”
When Turner committed to UW, he told WyoSports he feels he can “do it all” when asked to describe his game. Turner also said he only “scratched the surface of his potential.”
Turner will continue to scratch away as the summer progresses, and the season approaches.
“There is a balance you have to find between knowing your potential and going through the process of realizing it,” Turner said. “There are some things I feel like I can do well, but right now it is about working on the things that will help this team.”