If not Turner, the Sixers would have their choices of some interesting big men, most notably Georgia Tech 6-10 power forward Derrick Favors and Kentucky's DeMarcus Cousins.
Both entered the draft after one season in college.
A south Atlanta native, Favors is a pick of potential. In his lone year at Georgia Tech, he averaged 12.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He shot 61 percent from the floor, though admitted yesterday at the NBA draft combine that his offense needs work.
"I'm better on defense than I am on offense," said the soft-spoken 18-year-old. "I try to style my play after [Phoenix Sun] Amare Stoudemire and [Boston Celtic] Kevin Garnett. My 1 year in college helped me a lot. I got a lot stronger, learned how to move more, come off and set screens. I plan on coming into the league, playing hard every night and leaving everything out on the floor. I just want to work hard and improve my game."
While most young players are looking to bulk up their bodies to deal with the rigors of an 82-game NBA season, Cousins is looking to cut back a little on the pounds.
"Most of the teams that talk to me ask me about my weight and my eating habits," said the 6-11 Cousins. "I eat mostly chicken and seafood now and I've lost some weight since the end of the season."
"Well, I weigh about 290 now. During the season I was about 295."
It certainly doesn't seem like much, but Cousins explained that, in addition to losing weight, he is reshaping his body for the NBA.
Often criticized for getting lazy during games, Cousins finished the season for the Wildcats averaging 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. Alarmingly, he averaged only 23.5 minutes a game. Some of that had to do with a lot of Kentucky blowouts. But when you're a player battling weight and effort problems, that isn't a very good sign.
Still, Cousins is a big fan of his own game. When asked who he would take with the first overall pick, him or teammate John Wall, Cousins said without hesitation: "Me."
Asked why, he said: "Because I produce."
The look on Butler forward Gordon Hayward's face should be locked away and preserved for all to see in years to come. The sophomore, who led improbable Butler to the NCAA title game this past season, could not stop smiling while answering reporters' questions. "I still find this kind of surreal," he said. "It's weird and exciting at the same time" . . . John Wall, 19, is very articulate and comfortable handling questions from the media. He said he had a 3.5 GPA and plans to finish college some day.