LINCOLN — It is a long way from Normal Community West High School to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
No matter. Kiel Turpin is ready to make the trip that at one time seemed unlikely.
The 6-foot-11 Lincoln College sophomore and Normal West graduate announced Thursday night he will sign a national letter of intent to play for Florida State in November.
Turpin was the most valuable player of the National Junior College Athletic Association Division II National Tournament last spring in leading the Lynx to the title as a freshman.
He averaged 16.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.8 blocks in four national tourney games. Turpin recorded 21 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in the championship game, a 71-60 victory over Cincinnati State Technical & Community College.
“I thought we could be taking a risk on a player who didn’t play many minutes in high school,” said Lincoln College coach Kirk Whiteman. “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.”
Rivals.com reported Turpin also considered offers from Alabama and Southern California.
Turpin’s father, the late Mel Turpin, was an all-Southeastern Conference player at Kentucky before going to the NBA.