STILLWATER — Oklahoma State needs a big man, in case you haven't heard.
A legitimate big man.
Might the answer be seated behind the Cowboys bench on Saturday?
And no, not injured forward Michael Cobbins, although he'd certainly help.
The answer, and it would have to wait until next season, could be premium prep recruit Myles Turner.
A five-star prospect and Scout.com's No. 2-ranked recruit nationally, Turner is a 7-foot, 240-pound center at Fort Worth-area Euless Trinity High who counts OSU among a short list of schools he's considering. The other contenders include heavy hitters like Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona and Ohio State, along with Texas and SMU from the home state.
Turner is allowed five official visits. The Buckeyes got the first. The Cowboys receive the second, Saturday, with OSU's game against Baylor on the agenda.
It's an opportunity to take in the Cowboys and Gallagher-Iba Arena, but also a chance to visualize where he might fit with next year's OSU team, which is prominently.
While Turner projects to play immediately wherever he goes, he would be the centerpiece for a Cowboys team that loses Marcus Smart, Markel Brown and possibly Le'Bryan Nash, yet also returns firepower and has already signed a class that ranks 19th nationally according to Scout.
“I'm sure that's the pitch Travis Ford is selling to Myles,” said Scout recruiting analyst Evan Daniels. “I'd have to think Oklahoma State is in there. They definitely have a shot.
“They've done a good job recruiting him. They were in there early and built a relationship early. And Myles Turner is a kid who I think that factors in with. So the visit this weekend is a big deal.”
The Cowboys focused on Turner before he shot up in stature, both literally and figuratively.
As a sophomore, he was intriguing at 6-7 and 185 pounds. But after that season, he required ankle surgery and had to shut down his play over the spring and summer.
By the time school started, Trinity coach Mark Villines had a new player.
“All he had to do that summer was hit the weight room and work on his skill set,” said Villines, who will be accompanying Turner on his visit. “He didn't get the grind and pounding of playing the full spring and summer schedule. By the time he got released to practice and got acclimated last summer, he had put on 30 pounds and grown another three inches.
“Basically, that's when he started taking off.”
Already, however, Ford and his staff had forged a relationship.
And relationships, Villines said, will weigh heavily in Turner's decision.
“I think No. 1, and he'll tell you this, it's going to have to be the right fit for him,” Villines said. “Family oriented is going to be huge wherever he goes, because he is so close to his friends and his family. And we are like a family here. So that's going to be important.
“He's going to have to feel that when mommy and daddy leave, he's still circled by this family that is all in it for the same reasons.”
Like most kids, Turner dreams of the playing in the NBA, Villines said, and a feel for development toward that goal will also be a key factor. By all accounts, he's got the tools.
In the short time between sprouting from 6-7 and 185 to 7-foot, 240, Turner's skills have grown, too.
Entering Friday night's game against L.D. Bell, Turner was averaging 17.8 points, 12.2 rebounds and nearly seven blocked shots per game for a Trinity team that is 20-6. He ranks seventh in the area in scoring, second in rebounding and first in blocks. And Villines said he's had multiple triple-doubles.
Daniels and Villines rave about Turner's defensive impact and his ability to change games as a rim protector. The coach offers up an intriguing offensive comparison.
“He's very Tim Duncan-like,” Villines said. “My assistant made this comparison the other day, and it makes sense, because he isn't flashy, necessarily. But he is efficient, efficient, efficient. He can shoot the 15-foot jump shot. He can shoot the 3. He makes his free throws.
“Now, don't get me wrong. He can dunk one with some authority. But he just goes about his business and pretty soon you look up and he's got a triple-double.”
Tim Duncan, that's high praise.
“He is the best player we've ever coached here and will probably be the best we ever get to coach,” Villines said, “so we're fortunate.
“The best days of Myles Turner are way ahead of him still, without a doubt.”
And there's more.
“He's a super kid,” Villines said. “His work ethic, his character, his grades, his family — he's pretty much the total package. That's what I tell everybody who asks.
“Obviously, he has talent. It's the other aspects and facets of his life that are just as good.”
Due to Cobbins' injury and the Cowboys lack of interior depth, coping with size has become an issue for OSU, with foul troubles emerging as a troubling recent trend. And post play will be a storyline against Baylor, which is built around 7-1 Isaiah Austin and 6-9 bruiser Cory Jefferson.
Adding a player like Turner would allow Cobbins and Kamari Murphy to settle more into more suited roles as forwards. With Turner as the centerpiece alongside those two, solid returning pieces in Phil Forte, Brian Williams and Stevie Clark, perhaps Nash and three four-star prospects arriving, among others, the Cowboys could remain a contender.
It's a similar scenario at Duke and Kansas and Kentucky and …
“They're certainly involved,” Daniels said of the Cowboys. They wouldn't be getting a visit if they weren't.”