Leading to the draft, rumors swirled that Collins was leaning toward Derrick Favors, a Georgia Tech freshman power forward, or Syracuse junior swingman Wesley Johnson.
Collins praised Johnson's workout, but in the end, he said, Turner fit everything the Sixers wanted.
"I was definitely excited, and it's a great memory to have," Turner said of hearing his name called. "It's a great opportunity . . ."
"I'm just glad to be here and get drafted by the team I wanted to get selected by."
The former Buckeye will make a slotted rookie salary of $3.835 million this season. The Sixers last had the No. 2 pick in 1997, and they took Keith Van Horn, then immediately traded his rights to New Jersey as part of a deal that brought Tim Thomas and Anthony Parker to Philadelphia.
But Thursday at New York's Theatre at Madison Square Garden, Turner became a Sixer moments after the Washington Wizards selected Kentucky freshman John Wall first overall.
While Wall may have more upside, draft experts believe Turner is the most NBA-ready player of the draft.
His impressive mid-range game, high basketball IQ, and craftiness are among the many reasons the Sixers are pairing him with point guard Jrue Holiday, last year's first-round pick. Turner has the ability to play point guard, shooting guard, and small forward.
"I think he is so mature as a basketball player," Stefanski said. "The one thing I think is the biggest compliment you can give a player is he makes his teammates better. This kid is unselfish. He makes good decisions, trying to get people the basketball. He's a terrific mid-range shooter."
The franchise hopes the 21-year-old Turner and 20-year-old Holiday will become a dominant backcourt tandem for many seasons. Collins said Turner also would be a backup point guard in certain lineups.
"We can start off in defense," Holiday said of what can be expected from the tandem. "I feel like he takes defense to the heart. He takes a lot of pride in his defense, just like me. And offensively, just smart plays and less turnovers. I know we had a lot of turnovers. But we can make a lot of smart plays and a lot of dishing. I mean, what can we not do?"
Turner swept the Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Associated Press, Naismith, and Sporting News awards for national player of the year in 2009-10. He averaged 20.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 6 assists, and 1.7 steals.
One of the highlights of this past season was a game-winning, 37-foot three-pointer as time expired in a Big Ten Conference tournament quarterfinal victory over Michigan.
Now, the Sixers hope he can help them return to playoff contention.
After last season's dismal 27-55 campaign, Eddie Jordan was fired as coach after one season and Collins was hired as his replacement last month.
The Sixers also acquired 22-year old center Spencer Hawes and gritty veteran forward Andres Nocioni in a trade with the Sacramento Kings for underachieving center Samuel Dalembert.
The Sixers had traded their second-round pick in February along with Royal Ivey and Primoz Brezec to the Milwaukee Bucks for Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson.
The Sixers will introduce Turner at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the Wachovia Center's Broad Street Atrium, in a news conference that is open to the public.
Contact staff writer Keith Pompey at 610-313-8029 or email@example.com.