John Calipari’s Dominican national team ended its summer run with a 113-59 loss to the United States last night in Las Vegas. But the lopsided defeat was just the next step in UK’s recruitment of 2015 superstar Karl Towns.
Towns, a 6-10 center ranked No. 1 in his class by ESPN, entered the game in the fourth quarter and promptly knocked down a three-pointer over former Cat Anthony Davis. Towns finished with three points, two rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot. But it was the experience — not the stat line — that mattered.
He spent much of the fourth quarter matched up with Davis, the No. 1 pick in last month’s NBA Draft. Following the game, Towns tweeted pictures of himself with LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and Tyson Chandler. The Daily’s Dan Wolken said the high school star was wearing University of Kentucky basketball shorts on his way out of the gym. By the end of the night he was trending on Twitter.
So while other college coaches can’t even talk to Towns for another year or so, Calipari has already coached the kid for a month. And not only has the UK coach allowed Towns to meet with his favorite NBA players, he’s actually given him the opportunity to play against them.
When it comes time for Towns to make his college decision, UK will surely be in the mix. And don’t think for a minute that Calipari won’t be reminding him of a certain night in Vegas when a 16-year-old took on the best players in the world.