Andrew Bynum

Top recruit Karl Towns commits to Kentucky, reclassifies to 2014

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New Jersey native Karl Towns, one of the brightest young talents in the country, has committed to Kentucky and reclassified to the Class of 2014, he announced Tuesday.

Towns’ commitment to Kentucky comes as little surprise, as he had developed a strong relationship with coach John Calipari and even played for Calipari this past summer on the Dominican Republic’s National Olympic Team in London.

“Kentucky is such a great school,” Towns told MSG Varsity after his decision. “I felt like Kentucky was just the right school at the end of the day.”

At 6-11, 235 pounds, Towns can extend out to the perimeter on the offensive end and pull defenses away from the basket. He also considered Duke and Florida heavily, along with Michigan State, North Carolina, Seton Hall, and Rutgers.

He attends St. Joseph High School (N.J.), the same school that Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum attended for much of his prep career. Because of their size and position similarities, as well as ties to the state of New Jersey, the two have often been mentioned together.

Towns becomes the first commit for Calipari in the Class of 2014, after what is expected to be a monstrous 2013 class for Kentucky.

In 2013, Calipari has already secured signatures from three Top-10 players (Andrew and Aaron Harrison, James Young), plus Top-30 prospect Marcus Lee and forward Derek Willis.

With the reclassification of Andrew Wiggins, perhaps the best prospect in the country and a Kentucky target, and the possibility of nabbing Julius Randle, another Top-5 player, the Wildcats’ 2013 recruiting class could end up being historically talented.

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

Blake Griffin’s knee injury gives Anthony Davis another shot on Team USA

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The injury bug has struck the Team USA frontcourt again, but it now, perhaps, gives former Kentucky star Anthony Davis a shot at Olympic gold.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin twisted his knee during a Team USA scrimmage and has been sent home for evaluation, forcing team officials to summon Davis to Las Vegas to rejoin the American National Team after being cut last week.

The extent of Griffin’s injury is unknown, but he has had trouble with the same knee in the past, including during the playoffs this past season.

Coming off a stellar national championship season with Kentucky and being selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Davis will now have the opportunity to practice with Team USA.

Injuries and withdrawals have weakened the American frontcourt during the selection process, including losing Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh, Lamar Odom, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Andrew Bynum.

Even Davis, for a time, was considered out of the running because of an ankle injury he suffered during a workout with the Hornets, but it turned out to be less severe than first thought.

Wojnarowski reports that Davis was on his way to Las Vegas Wednesday night after being in Los Angeles for a television event.

During his one season at Kentucky, Davis averaged 14.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks per game. He is expected to bring a defensive presence down low for the US Team and could see minutes in a depleted frontcourt.

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

Anthony Davis cut from Team USA after training camp in Las Vegas

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It looks like Anthony Davis will have to wait at least four more years for his first shot at an Olympic gold medal after he was cut from the USA Men’s National Team Saturday.

USA Basketball announced its final 12-man roster after training camp in Las Vegas, Nev., and the roster must now be submitted to US Olympic Committee for official approval.

Davis’ chances of making the team were both helped and hurt in recent weeks, as frontcourt players like Chris Bosh, Lamar Odom, Andrew Bynum, and LaMarcus Aldridge confirmed they would not be competing, but a sprained ankle suffered in practice with the New Orleans Hornets left question marks for Davis.

“We projected we would have difficulty getting down to a roster of 12, regardless of the number of injuries that have taken place, because they are such an outstanding group of people and athletes,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “The final selections keep us in concert with our game plan to have athleticism, versatility and strong depth on our roster. I think our final roster epitomizes all of that.”

Though the former college star Davis will not compete in London, ties to the college game remain, with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski and Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim on staff.

Team USA will continue to train in Las Vegas through July 12, then travel to London and take part in practices and exhibitions that lead up to the London Games.

To see the entire Team USA roster, click here.

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

Despite ankle injury, Anthony Davis will report to Team USA’s Olympic training camp

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When Anthony Davis went down with an ankle injury during a workout with his new team, the New Orleans Hornets, last week, it seemed like another blow to the possible depth of Team USA for the London Olympics.

But, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo!, Davis will report to Team USA training camp in Las Vegas and work to make the final roster after it was found that his ankle injury is not as bad as once thought.

Davis, who led Kentucky to national championship this past spring, was selected first overall in last week’s NBA draft, and is looking to be the only player on the 2012 Team USA roster not to have played a professional game before suiting up for the red, white, and blue.

Team USA has had a string of injuries and withdrawals that leave them with little depth in the frontcourt, including losing Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, Chris Bosh, and Lamar Odom.

Davis reportedly can return to the court in a week to 10 days, which could be in time for Team USA’s exhibition on July 12 against the Dominican Republic. The DR is coached by Davis’ college coach, John Calipari.

The USA also makes stops in Washington, D.C., Manchester, England, and Barcelona, Spain. The team arrives in London on July 27 for the beginning of the 2012 Olympics.

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

Anthony Davis injured, out of Olympics contention

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Four days ago, Anthony Davis was selected with the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

With Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum and Chris Bosh missing the Olympics, many believed that meant that the newest New Orleans Hornet would have a very real shot at backing up Tyson Chandler as Team USA’s center in this summer’s Olympics.

With Kevin Love and Blake Griffin being the only other big men on the entire roster, it made sense.

But that won’t be happening, according to Adrian Wojnarowski:

source:

So much for that theory.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

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_