High school basketball has two major stars right now.
Rising senior Jabari Parker, a small forward from Chicago, is fresh off of gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated, where he was called the best high school player since LeBron. Andrew Wiggins, a rising junior playing his high school ball in West Virginia, is a kid that many people believe may actually be better than Parker. Every coach in the country goes to sleep dreaming about getting one of these two kids to wear their school’s colors.
But there is another phenom coming through the high school ranks. He goes by the name Karl Towns, and he’s a 6-foot-11 center that started and averaged a double-double for New Jersey powerhouse St. Joseph’s in Metuchen. He’s also a 16 year old freshman.
How good is Towns?
“He’s the best player in the Class of 2015,” said CBSSports.com recruiting analyst — and pomade expert — Jeff Borzello said.
But does that mean that Towns is good enough to play on the Dominican National Team? I’ve seen Towns play. He’s going to be a very, very good basketball player. He’s not only a rebounder and a shot-blocker, but he’s able to step out and knock down a three. The problem? He’s 16. He’s not physically mature. He doesn’t have a well-developed low-post game. He’s not ready to compete against some of the world’s best players.
So why is he on the team?
Well, in my mind, it’s simple: John Calipari is coaching the Dominican team. Calipari is also recruiting Towns to play his collegiate ball at Kentucky. It would only make sense for him to put Towns on the team. A chance to legally and get to know him? Calipari would be a fool not to include him.
And, along those same lines, Towns would be a fool not to accept the invitation. Al Horford and Charlie Villanueva will be the likely starters for this Dominican team. You don’t think Towns is going to get better attending Calipari’s practices where he will be going up against two NBA all-stars? You don’t think it will benefit him experiencing a high-level of international basketball?
“I want people to know he made it for his ability, not because of who the coach is,” Karl Towns Sr. told Jeff Eisenberg of The Dagger. That may be true. Maybe Calipari is planning for the future. Maybe the Dominican team does not have much front court depth. Maybe I just saw Towns on a day when he was tired or didn’t play well.
But regardless of whether or not Towns is good enough right now to play on this Dominican team isn’t the point.
There was no way he was going to get cut.
This is just another example of why Coach Cal is ahead of the curve on everyone when it comes to recruiting. You don’t think Cal knew about this kid when he made the decision to coach the Dominican team? Just like the game he scheduled at Cowboys Stadium for the 2013-2014 season had nothing to do with his efforts to pull the Harrison twins out of Texas?
There is a reason that Cal is so good at what he does. This is it.