Bryan Harris had known about UConn Class of 2014 target Brianna Turner, a versatile 6-foot-3 wing from Pearland, Texas, before he began his first season as the head coach at Manvel High this year. At this point, there are very few people – if any – who have not heard about Turner.
She is recognized as a Top 5 player in her class. She is a player that has been scouted by approximately 35 to 40 Division I coaches, including UConn’s Geno Auriemma, who was in Houston Saturday morning to see Turner compete at the McDonald’s Texas Invitational.
But having the opportunity to coach Turner has only given Harris a greater appreciation for the type of athlete and the type of person that she is.
“She’s a great kid that does everything,’’ Harris said. “She’s a stat producer in everything that she does. She’s a hard guard. She can play the 1 or the 5, any position. A great student. Great kid. Great personality. Has no enemies. That sort of kid. And the best thing about her is she has no idea that’s she’s that good. She doesn’t have the swag that most kids do at her level. She’s very humble and that’s what makes her so good. The sky’s the limit for her. Wherever she ends up going she’s going to be a diamond.’’
Turner averaged 20.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 4.7 blocks last season at Manvel High. She also averaged 8.5 points on 56.9 percent shooting, 4.0 rebounds and 14.6 minutes last August to help the U.S. win the gold medal at the FIBA U-17 World Championship in the Netherlands.
This season Harris said Turner is averaging about 22 points per game for Manvel.
“It’s the points that I know a lot of coaches look at, but it’s the assists and the rebounds and the steals and the deflections,’’ Harris said. “Just across the board, she’s just a triple-double. She can do a lot. I think at the next level she’s going to play a 3 and she’s going to be a hard guard. She’s 6-3, but she’s so long.
“She’s the ultimate teammate. I’m a firm believer in you’re only as good as how you make the other four kids and how they respond. Sometimes she feels as if she has to take over, and she can take over. But she makes everybody else around her better and that’s what makes a great teammate. She’s very supportive. She’s never negative on anything. You don’t ever see her get frustrated. As she always just plays hard. `Coach, what do I need to do to help us win?’ You want those kinds of kids.’’
Harris said that the recruiting process has been a circus considering all of the attention that Turner has drawn to this point. In talking to her, though, Turner is not bothered by the attention. She admits that she would “rather just stay on the sidelines and play my game,’’ but it has not become a distraction.
“I’m just going with the flow,’’ Turner said. “I don’t feel any pressure. I’m just trying to find the best school for me with academics and also with sports.’’
Turner said that she will probably make her decision after she is finished playing this summer, maybe in August or September. She plans to take at least three official visits. She made an unofficial visit to UConn last March.
Turner’s father, Howard, said that she will likely release her Top 5 Nov. 26.
Both of her parents played college basketball: Howard played for Lamar; Her mother, Kellye, played at the University of Houston.
“It helps a lot,’’ Turner said. “I have my dad yelling at me the whole entire game and my mom yelling at me the whole entire game. I just have people coming at me the whole 32 minutes. So they’re in my ear.’’