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By LARRY VAUGHT
Karl Towns’ parents have both been major influences on him. He’s an honor student, one reason he’s been able to reclassify to the 2014 recruiting class, and says his mom, a nurse, has always stressed academics first.
“She wants me to excel in all areas of life. She is always trying to keep me well rounded, and I appreciate that,” Towns, a UK commit, said. “She is the reason why I was put here and I owe it to her to make sure my time here is special.
His father, a former college standout, was the first one “to put a basketball in my hand” and took him to practices for the AAU team he coached.
“He gave me a chance to play this sport. He’s had a huge influence,” Towns said. “He taught me to dribble and shoot. He gave me an opportunity to get better. I just hope I can make it to the league (NBA) one day and show him all his work paid off. My dad could be a little tough on me times because he wanted me to be the best. He always pushed me. There would be days I wanted to be home watching cartoons and he wanted me in the gym to shoot or work out. That frustrated me, but now that I am going to Kentucky to play at the highest level, I think back and realize how much he did for me by getting me in the gym.”
Still, there was a time when Towns walked away from basketball.
“I actually quit basketball and wanted to be a baseball star,” Towns laughed and said. “I didn’t want to play basketball any more. That was about three years ago I think. But after three weeks of playing baseball, I missed basketball. I was a pitcher, first baseman, outfielder, third baseman. I loved it. My dad was a little irked that I quit basketball, but he supported me and went to all my games across the country.
“I sill love baseball, but since I took that break from basketball and came back my drive for basketball has been at a high level. That break gave me an even greater passion for basketball, and I needed that.”