KarlTowns

Center Karl Towns (St. Joe’s (N.J.) ’15) becomes part of Dominican National Team

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It’s usually considered a pretty big feat when a player competes at an AAU level higher, perhaps a 15U player getting minutes with the 17U team. But what if one is a high school freshman, preparing to play for a country’s national team?

Karl Towns, a 6-11, 235-pound center from Metuchen, N.J., has made the Dominican National Team and will join the squad as they work to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

“I felt like a little kid in a candy store,” Towns told MyCentralJersey.com. “This is something you dream about but you never actually think it’s going to happen. That dream has all of a sudden come true.”

Towns averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks per game this past season at St. Joseph’s  Metuchen (N.J.), helping the team to a 29-2 record and an NJSIAA Non-Public A title.

He gains eligibility for the team because his mother, Jacqueline, was born in the Dominican Republic.

As a rising sophomore, Towns is considered one of the top prospects in his class and has drawn early comparisons to fellow New Jersey native Andrew Bynum.

The Dominican Republic has not yet qualified for the Olympics, and will try to do so July 2-8 in Venezuela, where the team will compete for one of three final spots.

“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment, obviously, but he’s not a kid who gets caught up in all the glamour,” St. Joe’s coach Dave Turco told the paper. “For him it’s going to be about seeing what he can do against some of the best basketball players in the world and getting feedback on what he needs to work on moving forward.”

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

WATCH LIVE: Hofstra travels to Delaware on NBCSN

James Madison forward Yohanny Dalembert (40) prepares to shoot against Hofstra forward Rokas Gustys, behind, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Hofstra tries to keep pace with the conference’s elite as they travel to Delaware on Saturday afternoon. You can watch this CAA battle live on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Pride (17-8, 9-4) are currently two games behind conference leader UNC-Wilmington and they’re trying to make a run to close out the season. Senior guard Juan’ya Green leads the Pride in points (17.7 ppg), assists (7 apg) and steals (1.8 spg) and he’s surrounded by a dangerous supporting cast.

Delaware (6-18, 1-12) had lost 15 consecutive games before beating Drexel in their last game. The Blue Hens have struggled in CAA play but Kory Holden (17.5 ppg, 4 apg) will try to help lead the upset.

These two teams met on Dec. 31 with Hofstra winning that one, 90-80, at home.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.