Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Karl Towns Jr: The 6-foot 10-inch Freshman on College Coaches Radars!!!

Karl Towns Jr.: Class of 2015

Written by: Mike Vorkunov & Prospect-Central

When an NFL Superbowl Champion (who actually caught a TD in the game) wants to be introduced to a fifteen year old high school basketball player and not the other way around, one would think that's not your average, ordinary, everyday freshman.  Standing 6-foot 10 with serious range on his jumper, Karl Towns Jr. is anything but average.  His game is starting to bring him national notoriety also, as is evident by New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz requesting to be introduced to the freshman during halftime of the Seton Hall-Rutgers game last week.  As humble of a kid that Karl is, that still must be pretty cool.

Back in August Prospect-Central featured Karl Towns Jr. as one of "Ten Fresh Faces" to watch from the Class of 2015 and his play this season for St. Joseph's High School out of Metuchen, New Jersey has more than justified the selection.  Currently averaging 11.7 ppg, 10.7 rpg & 4.5 bpg, Karl Towns Jr. is still only fifteen years old and not even done growing into his body.  Since he's still developing physically he isn't the most explosive off the ground (YET), but there is no question he's one of the most talented freshmen in the country and will have a number of big-time college programs vying for his services over the upcoming years.* Below are highlights of Karl vs. South Brunswick High School followed by an article from The Star Ledger & then a highlight video of his 2011-12 freshman season.

Victor Cruz giving props to Karl Towns Jr.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, Karl Towns Jr. is able to walk through the quiet halls of his high school gymnasium in peace — one of the few unbothered moments out in public that he has had lately.

Towns’ basketball practices at St. Joseph High in Metuchen have been closed for weeks to create a sense of normalcy as county and state tournaments approach. Games are the only times college coaches can see him in action now.

Last week, as Towns sat behind the Rutgers bench at the Rutgers Athletic Center for a game against Seton Hall, he couldn’t find anonymity.  Seton Hall assistant coach Shaheen Holloway came by to chat with Towns’ father for several minutes. From 30 feet away, another Pirates assistant coach asked why Towns wasn’t sitting behind their bench. At halftime, Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, also in attendance, requested to be introduced to him.

The reason for Towns’ popularity is obvious. He is a 15-year-old freshman who stands 6-foot-10. His size alone makes him a desirable commodity in the basketball world, but with averages of 11.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, there’s accelerated ability, too. A deadly outside shooter despite his size — his doctors say he may grow another 3 inches — recruiters are trying to get in early with one of the best high school prospects to come along in this state in years.

More so than his talent, the biggest question facing Towns is how someone so young and high profile deals with the attention at such a young age.

 Dude in the gray sweatshirt knows Karl Towns Jr. is $ from deep
“He doesn’t get caught up in all this hoopla,” St. Joseph coach Dave Turco said. “He goes about his business. I think the mom and dad have it a lot tougher than me. I’m very fortunate that they take on so much of the responsibility. I think we all do, of keeping as much away from him as we can. He is only a freshman. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when the kid’s a senior, to be honest with you. Right now it gets a little circuslike. But to have a kid who’s so down to earth, it makes it so much easier because he doesn’t buy into the hype.”

His father, Karl Sr., a former star at Monmouth and current coach at Piscataway Tech, is always nearby to lessen the burden. But that doesn’t mean Karl Jr. can’t see the swirl he lives amid.

“He’s always stressed out, but now he’s stressed out about me,” he said. “People calling him and they want stuff from him. That really took me back because wow, I’m so young and I’m already attracting so much attention and so much of a vibe in the country.”

Buzz has been building since Towns’ performance at Boo Williams’ AAU tournament this spring. His father had taken him off the circuit for two years so he could work on his game in privacy. When he reappeared, he made an impact. It was and still is the only time Towns has played AAU basketball against players his own level — he chooses to play up in age. By several reports, Towns made an impression on scouts with his skills.

A summer with the Dominican Republic U-17 team followed — he declined to play for the United States to honor his mother’s Dominican heritage. There, he was coached by the brother of a Kentucky assistant coach, and soon the Wildcats staff knew about him. In four games, he averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds against players who were two years older.

Trying to grab a rebound over Karl Towns Jr., are you crazy???
“Know when I realized my son was good?” Karl Sr. said. “When colleges started visiting him (this year). When Tom Izzo came in. When Cincinnati flew in. When Kentucky showed interest. When Syracuse came in and visited. Villanova was in the house. When I saw all them cats in the gym, Jay Wright and everybody asking about him, I said these coaches are coming out to recruit a freshman. Come on, you have to be outstanding to get people to fly out and see you in your own gym. That’s when I realized that he’s got a chance to be very good.”

The visibility he earned put a new focus on him. The decision of which high school to attend became public. His first day of school this fall was under a spotlight. The long list of scholarship offers hasn’t dampened expectations.

“I bust him all the time: He sneezes, someone writes a blog (lol) on it,” said Turco, whose team is ranked No. 3 in the state has a 20-1 record with Towns as a starter.

Karl Jr. has assimilated into high school well. He is president of the freshman class, with a 4.3 GPA (and size-20 shoes), and has developed a reputation for being kind and humble — sometimes a rare trait for basketball prodigies.

Only weeks after school started, a classmate broke his nose in a flag football game. Towns went to his hospital room to wait with him because the boy’s parents were working in New York. In a game against Perth Amboy, he honored U.S. Marine Cpl. Kevin Reinhart, a St. Joseph’s graduate who was killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan, by scoring 25 points, to match Reinhart’s age. After he scored the final point, he told Turco he wouldn’t shoot the rest of the game.

Christopher Obepka knows Karl Towns Jr. can ball!!!
These are the stories more prevalent than tales of basketball prowess. Towns’ next big decision will be whether to play for the baseball or golf team this spring. He throws 80 miles per hour and has a four handicap, honing his skills regularly on the Rutgers golf course.

Yet, there are moments when signs of his youth and promise merge. On an unofficial visit to Villanova, he showed Wildcats coach Jay Wright a photo that had been sitting in his room for nearly five years. It was a picture of the two taken at a high school game, after Towns had played on the court during halftime.

“I think he takes notice of that picture now,” Towns said with a laugh.

“I think it’s amazing because my dad was like, ‘Hopefully you’ll get to that level where one day you could hopefully play for Jay Wright.’ I was like, ‘Hopefully.’ Now I’m getting recruited by him. It’s a humbling feeling to know that as a child, I’m coming close to my dreams, but I have higher hopes and I just want to accomplish that.”  Original Article.

No comments:

Post a Comment