Even though many observers feel that Karl Towns is a lock to announce for Kentucky on Dec. 4, don’t rule out Duke.
The 6-foot-11 Towns out of St. Joe’s-Metuchen has a list that includes numerous other schools, including Florida, N.C. State, North Carolina, Villanova, Rutgers and Seton Hall, but sources close to the situation believe it will come down to Duke and Kentucky.
Towns has a strong relationship with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewksi, against whom he played when he was on the Dominican Republic National Team this summer and Coach K coached Team USA.
“Well, there’s so much to like about Duke and it’s of course, Coach K and the curriculum,” Jackie Towns, Karl’s mother, told SNY.tv by phone Tuesday.
“Like with every coach, he gets along with every coach and they have a great relationship.”
Asked how he might fit in at Duke should he opt to go there, Towns told SNY.tv recently, “I think I would fit in well. With Coach K having Ryan Kelly this year shows he can work with big men at any position and make the most of their talent.
“Also, since he coached the USA Team, his work with Kevin Love could help me with my game.”
Still, don’t rule out Kentucky.
Towns played for John Calipari this summer on the Dominican team, and maintains strong ties there.
“Kentucky is just a great school,” Jackie said. “Of course he did play with the National Team and Coach Cal coached the team. Every good athlete has a good relationship with their coach.”
Jackie said the family is still discussing the decision, leading up to his Dec. 4 announcement at his high school.
“Of course as a young man, he wants some input from his parents but ultimately the decision is his, where he feels comfortable,” Jackie said. “He’s a really smart guy so I’m sure he’s going to make the best decision.”
Karl Towns Sr. previously told SNY.tv the family was considering having Karl reclassify to 2014 from 2015, which might put him closer to potentially entering the 2015 NBA Draft.
“I’m not sure of any of that,” Jackie said of her 17-year-old son. “We haven’t really discussed anything like that and I’m not sure if something like that is going to happen.”
Jackie said her son wants to get the decision over with so he can move forward with his life.
“One, it’s the benefit for the University to get prepared to build a good program for that year to win an NCAA championship, so it benefits the school, it benefits him because he can focus on what he has to do to get to the next level and become a better player when he reaches that level in college,” she said. “It’s a great thing. You don’t want to wait until the last year to decide where you want to go and then they don’t have the other athletes in place to make it a winning season for that university at the time.”
Ed Bright, Towns’s AAU coach with Sports U, said that wherever Towns lands, he will be have a major impact.
“He is a program-changer,” Bright told SNY.tv. “He’s a program-changer on two different levels. No. 1, obviously, because of basketball. You’re talking about a kid that will wind up 7-feet, can shoot lights out from 23 feet on in, understands the game, good passer.
“He has to work on his overall agility but at 7-feet how much agility do you need?
“But his character, the poise he has as a 17-year-old, I’ve never seen. How he will represent a program, even a community, he’s special. A lot of people throw special around casually. You can’t throw that around casually with Karl Town Jr.
“You can build a program around him. If he’s coming to your school, you build a program around him.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.