Karl-Anthony Towns

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Karl-Anthony Towns becomes Kentucky’s third top overall pick in program history

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With seven players from last season’s 38-1 team available, Thursday’s NBA Draft is expected to be a good one for the Kentucky basketball program. And the draft got off to a good start for John Calipari’s program, as Karl-Anthony Towns was selected with the first overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Towns, who will join two other top overall draft picks in Minnesota in Andrew Wiggins (2014) and Anthony Bennett (2013), is the third former Wildcat to be taken first in an NBA Draft. He joins John Wall (2010) and Anthony Davis (2012), making Kentucky the first college basketball program with three top overall picks in the draft’s modern era (since 1985).

Also on the board for Kentucky were Willie Cauley-Stein (drafted sixth by Sacramento), Trey Lyles (12th to Utah), Devin Booker (13th to Phoenix), Andrew Harrison (44th to Phoenix, traded to Memphis) and Dakari Johnson (48th to Oklahoma City). Aaron Harrison went undrafted.

Calipari was with the four players (Towns, Cauley-Stein, Lyles and Booker) who made the trip to Brooklyn, and Towns’ “friend” Karlito was there as well.

Former Ohio State point guard D’Angelo Russell was taken with the second overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers, with Duke’s Jahlil Okafor being picked third by Philadelphia. Kristaps Porzingis (New York) and Mario Hezonja (Orlando) rounded out the top five.

Dan Patrick Show: Karl-Anthony Towns discusses his development as a player, recruitment (VIDEO)

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Tuesday morning former Kentucky forward/center Karl-Anthony Towns appeared on “The Dan Patrick Show,” discussing matters such as the pre-draft process, what it was like playing for his father growing up and the recruiting process that ultimately led to his becoming a Wildcat.

Towns, who isn’t expected to be on the board too long in Thursday’s NBA Draft, credited his father with improving his skills to the point where he could comfortably use both hands on the court. He also spoke about the strengths of the University of Kentucky as a whole, and not just its basketball program, as a major factor in his decision to become a Wildcat.

source: Getty Images
(Getty Images)

 

Dominican league team gets draft day steal in Karl-Anthony Towns

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While there was some deliberation, from a basketball standpoint Karl-Anthony Towns’ decision to enter the 2015 NBA Draft was a smart one. Many believe that either he or former Duke big man Jahlil Okafor will be the top pick in the late-June draft, depending upon which team wins the draft lottery that’s to be held later this month.

Towns has Okafor beat in one area however: he’s already been selected in a professional basketball league draft. Thursday the Liga Nacional de Baloncesto (National Basketball League) (the article is in Spanish) of the Dominican Republic held its annual draft, and where Towns was selected may been seen as a surprise to some.

He was the sixth pick in the draft, with the Leones Basketball Club in Santo Domingo making the pick.

Towns, who has played for the Dominican national team and will clearly have the opportunity to do so in the future, tweeted “this is our year!” after receiving the news.

There will be people who wonder how on earth a player as talented as Towns could “slip” to sixth in the draft, but it’s pretty simple. The chances of Towns playing in the LNB are incredibly slim, based upon where he’s expected to go in the NBA Draft and how much money will be on the line. Teams ahead of Leones passed on Towns in hopes of landing a player more likely to join their team, which is understandable.

But if you’re Leones, which won its lone LNB title in 2011, why not take the chance on Towns? And his reaction to being picked could lead to some Lloyd Christmas-like optimism in team offices.

Two of the top three picks in the draft played Division I college basketball last season, with former Florida forward Jon Horford going second overall and former Manhattan forward Emmy Andujar going third. Kelly Beidler, who played collegiately at Mount St. Mary’s from 2006-10, was the top overall selection.

h/t AllKyHoops

Karl-Anthony Towns thanks Kentucky fan base, teammates and coaches for special season

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The 2014-15 season didn’t produce the ending that the Kentucky Wildcats were hoping for, as they lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four and finished two wins short of their goal of winning a national title. Yet even without the ultimate prize it was a special season for John Calipari’s program, as they won 38 games and the SEC regular season and tournament titles.

Earlier this week seven players, one being freshman big man Karl-Anthony Towns, announced that they’d be leaving school to enter the 2015 NBA Draft. In the case of Towns the decision didn’t appear to be a difficult one on paper, as either he or Duke’s Jahlil Okafor is expected to the top overall pick.

But in a letter of thanks he posted to his Instagram account, Towns noted that his love for Kentucky made the choice a difficult one. Below is the letter, and he also made sure to thanks his teammates, coaches and the school. And Towns’ alter ego “Karlito” was sure to say hello as well.

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:56am PDT

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:56am PDT

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:56am PDT

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:56am PDT

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:56am PDT

A photo posted by Karl Towns (@specialk44) on Apr 11, 2015 at 10:55am PDT

It’s official: Kentucky will lose seven players to the NBA Draft

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As expected, Kentucky will be losing seven players to the NBA Draft.

At a press conference on Thursday afternoon, head coach John Calipari and seven of his underclassmen announced their decision. When Cal asked the players declaring for the draft to stand up, this happened:

source:
Screengrab via ESPN

 

Karl Anthony-Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, Devon Booker, Dakari Johnson and both Aaron and Andrew Harrison will all be heading to the NBA.

“If Alex [Poythress] didn’t get hurt, it would have been eight,” Coach Cal said. Poythress has not yet made a decision. He’s got his degree already, according to Cal, and he’s still deciding whether or not he will return.

READ MORE: All early entry decisions

Towns is projected to be a top two pick in the NBA Draft, with many expecting that he will be taken No. 1 over Duke center Jahlil Okafor. Cauley-Stein is a top ten pick, while Lyles and Booker are both expected to be taken somewhere between the late lottery and the late first round.

Things are a bit different for the twins and Johnson. Johnson will likely get drafted, although he is expected to be a second round pick. The twins, on the other hand, are not guarantee to end up being picked. Andrew is probably the better NBA prospect at this stage, especially given the way he played late in the season, while Aaron is a shooting guard that hasn’t proven to be able to consistently shoot outside of the NCAA tournament.

Tyler Ulis, Marcus Lee and Alex Poythress will all return for the Wildcats, joining Skal Labissiere, Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews, the three freshmen that Kentucky has signed for the 2015-16 season. Labissiere is one of the top prospects in the 2015 class, a guy that is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft. Briscoe is a top ten recruit and a talented scoring guard, while Matthews is a four-star prospect.

Kentucky is still in the mix for a number of elite recruits that have yet to commit to a school, including Jaylen Brown, Cheick Diallo, Stephen Zimmermann and Thon Maker, among others.

We had Kentucky has the preseason No. 4 team in the country when we put out our list earlier this week, and nothing unexpected with any of the other teams in the top five has happened since then. As good as Labissiere is, they will ideally add some front court depth this spring, be it a freshman or a graduate transfer that is eligible immediately.

Karl-Anthony Towns scores 21 as No. 1 Kentucky takes care of No. 16 Hampton

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Having won all 34 of their games prior to Thursday night, No. 1 Kentucky was expected to make short work of No. 16 Hampton in their NCAA tournament opener. And that’s pretty much what happened in Louisville, as the top overall seed in the NCAA tournament took control of the game in the first half and ultimately moved to 35-0 on the season with a 79-56 victory.

Karl-Anthony Towns led the way offensively for John Calipari’s team, as he scored 21 points while also grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking three shots. As a team Kentucky finished with four double-digit scorers and shot 45.9 percent from the field, scoring 44 of their points in the paint and another 20 from the foul line.

And while the field goal percentage may look low considering the size of the opposition, that includes Aaron Harrison and Devin Booker shooting a combined 1-for-11 from the field. Hampton, which continued to compete throughout the night, shot just 28.8 percent from the field and 4-for-16 from beyond the arc.

And besides Quinton Chievous, who two days after spraining his ankle in a win over Manhattan accounted for 22 points and ten rebounds, no Pirate scored more than nine points.

Next up for the Wildcats is No. 8 Cincinnati, which edged No. 9 Purdue in overtime in the first game of the evening session.