UK Men's Basketball

Turpin's son commits to Florida St.

Kiel Turpin, son of the late Melvin Turpin, committed Thursday to play basketball at Florida State.

Turpin, a late-blooming 6-foot-11 junior-college center, will play for Coach Leonard Hamilton, who was an assistant at Kentucky when Turpin's father played for the Wildcats from 1980-84.

The State Journal Register of Springfield, Ill., and the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat reported Turpin's commitment.

Turpin, a sophomore at Lincoln (Ill.) Junior College, will join Florida State for the 2011-12 season.

Turpin was the MVP of the 2010 National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Tournament last season as Lincoln (30-6) won its first national title.

Turpin averaged 16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in four national tournament games. In the title game, he had 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

According to the Springfield newspaper, Turpin didn't play much at Normal (Ill.) West High School but grew from 6-5 to 6-11.

"I thought we could be taking a risk on a player who didn't play many minutes in high school,'' Lincoln College Coach Kirk Whiteman told the paper about recruiting Turpin. "However, after speaking with Kiel on his visit, I was convinced he was going to be a good player; I just didn't think this soon.

"He still has areas in his game to improve, especially to be a successful contributor at the level of a school like Florida State. However, with what he has accomplished so fast in just one year, the sky is the limit."

Melvin Turpin died July 8 in Lexington at age 49 in an apparent suicide, according to coroner's reports.

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