Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky Recruit Towns Jr. Planning to Pitch in 2014
PHILADELPHIA — Imagine a pitcher three inches taller than Randy Johnson staring down at you from the pitcher’s mound.
That’s what opponents of the St. Joe’s-Metuchen baseball team could be dealing with next spring.
Karl Towns Jr., a 7-foot-1 1/2 Kentucky pledge, told SNY.tv he plans to pitch on the school’s baseball team next spring before he heads to play for John Calipari.
“Yeah, I’m thinking about playing baseball for St. Joe’s, so I’m really happy,” Towns Jr. told SNY.tv after putting up 21 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks as the White Team beat the Black Team, 119-114, in the Mary Kline Underclassmen game at Philadelphia University. “I’m trying to make a return.”
He said when he last pitched in the eighth grade, he threw in the “high-80s.”
“He was big, let’s put it like that,” Karl Towns Sr. said. “The first thing you saw, was his feet.”
Towns Jr. stopped playing baseball last two years to focus on hoops. Having reclassified from 2015 to 2014, committed to Kentucky last season and then led his team to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions final, he can now enjoy his final season of high school a bit.
“Just the other day he was swinging and hitting balls, he misses baseball,” Towns Sr. said of his son. “He says that if everything goes right, he wants to at least be a part of the baseball team his senior year.”
Starring in basketball and baseball is not unique, but it would be impressive, although Towns Jr. gave no indication he would try to play both sports at Kentucky.
Former St. John’s freshman wing Amir Garrett was signed for a $1 million signing bonus by the Cincinnati Reds because the left-hander throws in the 90s. He has since transferred to Cal State-Northridge.
As for Towns Jr., he said he’s excited to watch Kentucky’s loaded 2013 recruiting class headlined by Julius Randle and Andrew and Aaron Harrison.
Those players could be gone by the time he arrives in 2014 since all are projected as lottery picks in the latest SheridanHoops.com 2014 Mock Draft.
“It’s a big thing and for me I’m just thinking about how good we could be when I’m there and it’s amazing how good this team next year will be so I can’t wait to see it,” Towns Jr. said.
Towns Jr. became close with Andrew Wiggins when they roomed together at the Nike Hoop Summit, and Kentucky could have been even more loaded had Wiggins chosen Kentucky over Kansas.
As it stands now, Wiggins will be the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft just about the time Towns Jr. has finished up his baseball season and gets ready to head to play for the Wildcats.
“I just want people who want to come who want to win,” Towns Jr. said.
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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 and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.