Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE
From now until the opening game on November 9th, Tomahawk Nation will be previewing the FSU basketball roster.
Question: Who is the most decorated player in FSU basketball history? No, Charlie Ward's football accolades do not count. The answer depends on how you define "decorated," but in this case we're going with rings.
Like trivia questions given out during sporting events, the answer typically involves what is on the screen in front of you. And since we're writing about 7-0 junior Kiel Turpin, then this one should be pretty easy. It's big Turp.
As a JUCO player at Lincoln, Turpin led his team to back-to-back National Titles, and was awarded the MVP award of both tournaments. Then as a redshirt at FSU he garnered another ring - this time as an ACC Champion. Three years, three rings. Not too bad.
Turpin is the son of Kentucky great Mel Turpin, and Mel Turpin was at Kentucky at the same time as a young assistant coach named Leonard Hamilton. But Ham didn't begin recruiting Kiel until he was already in JUCO. Why? Because a few years ago Kiel was an un-recruited 6-5 junior in high school. And then during his senior year he grew six inches. But he still barely played. He enrolled in JUCO and learned how to use that big body to play basketball. And that's when Ham got involved, and Kiel signed with FSU.
But when he transferred to FSU he was still caught up in his growth phase, and had yet to fill out his frame. He came in around 210 pounds, and has now bulked up to 240.
The national media is obsessed with the fact that FSU has three seven footers. But to be honest, two aren't ready to contribute. That leaves Turpin as the only legitimate center on the team, and as so, he's penciled in to start.
Turpin isn't a banger like Bernard James, but rather possesses smooth skills and decent range on his jump shot. Defensively he'll need to fill that roll of the final line, and how well he does that will likely determine his minutes. He didn't play much in the two exhibitions, so it's difficult to project him getting more than about 20 minutes a game right now. That means a small FSU lineup and nearly exclusively 3-guard sets.
On offense, he's more skilled in the high post than FSU big men of late. This will be especially valuable when FSU faces zone defenses. Turp will be able to camp in the opening at the top of the key, and be a distributor who can also turn and shoot.
He's surprisingly athletic for his size, and should earn FSU the bulk of opening tips. But I'm more concerned with the 40 minutes which follow. Can he average 7 points and 6 boards? If so, this team will be in good shape.