By LARRY VAUGHT
Karl Towns Jr. came to the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore., expecting to find “more of an all-star atmosphere” for Saturday night’s game. Instead, the future Kentucky basketball player found out it is a “team game” that everyone wants to win.
Towns— who was measured at 7 feet, 243 pounds with a 7-3 1/2 inch wing span at Portland — is part of the World team that will take on a U.S. team that includes three future Wildcats — Andrew Harrison, Julius Randle and Aaron Harrison.
“This is not a game to show off your talent. You go out there to win for the World team,” said Towns. “I have already got to meet people from around the world that I would never have met and it’s already a great experience, but I found out quickly this is a game you want to win.”
He met the Harrison twins on a visit to UK for Big Blue Madness in October and has “walked around” with Randle at a camp. He’s looking to spend some time with them, but since he’s a junior and won’t arrive at UK until the summer of 2014, he’s doubtful he’ll ever play with the Harrisons or Randle.
“They are all so talented. I would not be surprised at all if I go there and none of them are still there (because they’ve gone to the NBA),” Towns said.
Towns has the same one-and-done potential and knows this game is a good way to make a big impression.
“With NBA scouts here, it’s always good to start your future early and show what you can do daily,” Towns said. “It will be fun to play against next year’s Kentucky Wildcats and know I will be there the next year. They will set the tone before me. But Saturday I will play my best against them and hopefully we will come out with a win.”
Towns is used to special experiences. He tried out for the Dominican National team coached by John Calipari last year and spent time in Lexington practicing with the team. He got to play against NBA players in an exhibition game.
“That whole experience was mind boggling. The only way to top that would be making the Olympics, getting drafted or winning a national title,” Towns said.
Could playing in the Hoop Summit help one or all of those things happen?
“It sure could. This is going to help me out a lot in the long run,” Towns said. “Just the experience is special.”
He said winning a second state high school title was a nice “momento” added to his school’s legacy.
“After winning the first one and getting a little taste, you want the full course,” Towns said. “I hope now we can get a third one next year. I would love to see that.”
His team might be in Kentucky in January to play a game against Huntington Prep. He was supposed to play a game in Louisville last season but it got cancelled.
“I just do whatever our coach says. I am there for the team,” Towns said. “I do hope to make it to Kentucky to play in a game. If not, I will be there the year after. But I would love to see it work out for us to play a game in Kentucky.”
He hasn’t talked with Kentucky coach John Calipari in some time, but the UK coach gives Towns’ high school coach updates on what he might want to work on.
“He just sends me messages through my coach about little things like my defense to work on,” Towns said.
He already has his summer planned out and it includes spending more time with the Dominican National team.
“I will be in Kentucky for another training camp and this time I will be able to enjoy the BBN (Big Blue Nation) experience more. I’ll practice, but then ride around and enjoy all the stuff and see what BBN is all about,” Towns said. “That will be a lot of fun, too.”