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.
Projected No. 1 Pick Karl-Anthony Towns ‘Would Love to Play for the Knicks’; Looking Forward to Picking an Agent, Working Out for NBA Teams
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By JOHN PAVIAMETUCHEN, N.J. — With the 2015 NBA Draft just under two months away, Karl-Anthony Towns, while incredibly anxious to begin a career at the next level, was in no rush Sunday morning as he returned home to greet fans and sign autographs at his alma mater, St. Joe’s-Metuchen.
“It’s been awesome, I’ve been able to meet a lot of fans in Kentucky and meet a lot of people who haven’t been able to come to the games,” Towns said about the autograph tour. “That’s the biggest thing, everyone should have a chance to meet their favorite players.”
Towns, a 7-footer with a world of potential on the hardwood, spoke with several members of the media before his autograph session and described how he remained as cool-headed and humble as ever during the pre-draft process, which he described as “hectic.”
“I think that’s what the best thing about what my situation is, I have a great family, I have a great support system, I have a great high school,” Towns said. “That’s what makes this whole process a lot less hectic, a lot less stressful. It allows me to play my game and live my life.”
Towns was certainly in a much better mood than when we last saw him, following Kentucky’s devastating national semifinal loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.
Towns, a projected lottery pick and consensus top-two prospect in this year’s NBA draft class, had his coming out party this past season as a freshman for the University of Kentucky. He is now the projected No. 1 pick according to DraftExpress.com. With the Knicks owning a 19.9 percent chance to select No. 1 overall in the Draft, there is a decent possibility that Towns will not have to relocate very far to make his mark in the NBA.
Knicks President Phil Jacksonhas said he wants a defensive-oriented big man with the team’s pick.
Towns, in turn, is impressed with Jackson.
“What he means to me, his presence is just amazing,” Towns told the New York Post in a separate interview. “What was so awesome as a coach, he made every player better and put them in the best position to succeed. He’s just so smart and intelligent and has so much experience. He knows how to win. At the end of the day, what every player wants to do is win. If I have the opportunity to ever play for the Knicks, that’s what I would love to do.’’
On Sunday he added: “It would be awesome to play for anyone. Wherever the chips fall, the chips fall. It’s just going to be an honor to be in the fraternity that is the NBA, to be able to play with the greats who have ever played this game, to put the jersey on as they put it on. I just can’t wait. I just can’t wait to see what happens.”
Towns did mention that his family would not relocate if he were to be drafted by a local team like the Knicks or the Philadelphia 76ers, but that he would have his own place of residence closer to the practice facilities.
When talking about the pre-draft process, Towns stated that he was taking his time with the important decisions, one of which is finding an agent to represent him.
“You only get one chance at that [picking an agent],” he said. “You’ve got to make sure you get it right. I’m taking my time with that process. The NBA Draft process, that’s one of the biggest things is all the things that come other than on the basketball court. You’ve got to take your time with these decisions. Make sure you make it right. You don’t want to be making multiple decisions quickly and then regret it.”
Towns mentioned that individual team interviews and workouts would be conducted following the NBA Draft Combine, which runs May 14-17 in Chicago. He isn’t certain if he will participate in the drills at the event.
“I’m just going to go out there, just have fun and use the workouts not only as a chance to impress scouts or teams, but just to get better,” he said. “Learn from different coaches, get different philosophies and that’s how I’m taking it. I’m taking it as a learning experience.”
Only a 19-year-old, Towns still has plenty of room for improvement in his mind as he heads to the next level.
“I’m going to be able to open my game up a little more,” he proclaimed. “The NBA game is a lot longer than a college game.”
Towns also mentioned the “lack of a platoon system in the NBA,” which elicited a laugh from everyone, as he alluded to a larger portion of minutes for him to showcase his full game.
This particular stop on Towns’ autograph tour provided a glimpse into what his time at St. Joe’s meant to him and just how much he wanted to give back to the school. Towns’ father, Karl Towns, stated that a “large portion” of the proceeds generated from Sunday’s event would be donated to the school. Towns was a major part of three Non-Public A state championships, as well as the school’s lone Tournament of Champions victory in 2014, Towns’ senior year at St. Joe’s.
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