Karl Towns enjoyed playing for John Calipari over the summer so much that he’s going to do it again in college.
Towns, who played for Calipari and Kentucky assistant coach Orlando Antigua on the Dominican Republic National Team, committed to the Wildcats on Tuesday morning at the St. Joseph’s (Metuchen, NJ) High School gym. His decision, which had been expected for quite some time, legitimizes Coach Cal’s willingness to accept the Dominican Republic coaching job and even cut a bona fide pro on the team to make room for Towns and make in-roads in that recruitment.
A 6-foot-11 pivot who will likely transition to a stretch-4 role in college, Towns was the top player in the 2015 class heading into Tuesday’s announcement. But by the time the festivities were over, the 17-year-old sophomore sensation had transformed into the No. 2 big man in the Class of 2014. Towns, who turned 17 last month, officially announced he will reclassify to the junior class—which falls in line with his date of birth—thereby becoming the second best big man amongst his new peers behind standout center and Duke lean Jahlil Okafor.
Duke, along with Florida and North Carolina, had also recruited Towns and were among the finalists under consideration to land the prized prospect.
Towns drummed up excitement with Twitter comments in the days leading up to Tuesday’s decision—expressing superficial unease and indecisiveness regarding this decision—but Kentucky had wrapped up this recruitment for a while. As Busting Brackets first reported in November, Towns decided on Big Blue last month, and only postponed his announcement to allow for maximum media coverage, preparation and buildup.
Sources tell Busting Brackets that Karl Towns’ commitment to Kentucky and ensuing reclassification into 2014 will have an effect on the Wildcats’ recruitment of former Indiana pledge Trey Lyles. The top power forward in the class, Lyles possesses a game that comes in conflict, not concert, with Towns, and according to sources the Lyles camp is leery of whether the two can coexist. The Indianapolis native is fielding serious interest from several major programs, including Duke, Florida Louisville, Michigan State and North Carolina.
In the meantime, Kentucky has in tow arguably the most versatile offensive big man in all of high school basketball—regardless of class—in line to come to Lexington a year ahead of schedule. Big Blue Nation won’t be hearing from any of its three at-large targets in the senior class (Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon) until the spring, so this one should settle the appetite in the interim.