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Nation's top sophomore hoops recruit set to pick a school

Karl Towns Jr. wants to end hype before it starts


11:54 AM, Dec. 03, 2012 EST

Karl Towns Jr., the top-rated basketball recruit in the 2015 class, will announce his college decision on Tuesday. / USA TODAY Sports

Karl Towns Jr. is far from being the average teenager and even further from being the average high-profile basketball recruit.

Towns is a 6-foot-11, 16-year-old with size 20 sneakers and considered by every major recruiting outlet to be the top player in the 2015 class. He suited up for the Dominican Republic National Team last summer and went head-to-head with NBA stars like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

But what really sets Towns apart is that, not only does he not need the constant attention and hype associated with the recruiting process, he doesn’t want it either.

“It’s not my thing,” said Towns, a sophomore at St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.). “I’m just a little different. I don’t like all of the attention all the time. It’s obviously early for me, but when the coaches can start calling and things like that I know it’ll get way crazier. I just want to end it before it starts.”

Towns will do that Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET when he announces what college he plans to attend on a local TV station.

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Towns will decide between Kentucky, Michigan State, Indiana, Duke, Rutgers, Florida, N.C. State and Seton Hall.

“At this point, I just have no idea where I want to go,” Towns said. “My parents ask me every day if I think I know and I always go back and forth with it. I honestly think I’ll know the morning of the decision. All I know is that it’s time.”

Towns had this grand epiphany during the two weeks that he and his family were left without power as a result of the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.

“You just have all the time in the world to reflect when you don’t have power,” said Towns’ father Karl Towns Sr. “He came to us four days after we got our power on and said he wanted to set a date to make a decision. We were a little shocked, but we supported it. He just didn’t want the whole process to weigh on him. He’s got other things to worry about.”

Makes sense for a guy who holds a 4.3 GPA and has plans to ultimately become a kinesiologist.  

“I definitely want to play in the NBA, but that’s not my only goal,” Towns said. “Kinesiology is basically about being a scientific trainer. I’ve done a lot of studying on it and I’m really intrigued by it, so I want to keep my grades very high. That’s one of the big reasons I decided to get this out of the way.”

That and winning.

Towns’ logic was simple: If he picks a college early, it’s easier for the school to lure other great players.

“He wanted the school that he picks to have that advantage,” Towns’ mother Jacqueline Towns said. “He wants to have all the pieces in place so that, by the time he gets there, he can be in a position to win a championship.”

Towns led St. Joseph to a state title last season, averaging 12 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks per game. He played sparingly for the National team, which failed to qualify for the 2012 Olympics after finishing fourth at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but Towns said that the experience was “a dream come true.”

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“I wouldn’t have cared if I never played, just being on that team and gaining that experience made me better,” Towns said. “It’s something that I will never forget.”

Kentucky coach John Calipari coached Towns on the National Team, thus beginning the rumors that Towns was a lock for Lexington.

“I hear it all of the time, mostly from my classmates,” Towns said of the Kentucky rumors. “It’s just not true. It’s crazy the things that people come up with, but see that’s more of a reason I don’t want to string this thing out. The rumors are crazy.”

The rumor about Towns planning to reclassify up to 2014 isn’t as far-fetched; Towns admitted it’s an option because of his good grades.  

Still, Towns said he’s in no hurry to get to college.

“I don’t know about reclassifying up,” he said. “You’re talking about losing an extra year of education and being with my teammates and not winning another state title ring in high school. I don’t know about that. I’ve got to beat my dad with the ring count. Right now we’re tied 1-1. I don’t know what I’ll do as far as moving up. I’m not ruling it out, but we’ll just have to see what happens.”

For now, Towns’ full focus is on making the best decision.

The hardest part?

“It’s not saying yes, it’s saying no,” Towns said. “How do you tell these great coaches that you’re not coming? That’s pretty tough. It would just be worse if I strung it out for another year or so. It’ll be a tough decision, but it’s something that I’ve got to do for me.”

Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter @JayJayUSATODAY

 

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