The new Scout.com rankings for the class of 2014 were released Tuesday, and UK’s only commitment retained his top-10 status.
New Jersey center Karl Towns, who committed to the Cats in December, is rated the No. 10 overall player and No. 4 center by Scout.com, which had him at 8th overall in the previous update.
National analysts and scouts hadn’t seen Towns play as much as some of the other 2014 stars until recently. The 7-footer doesn’t play AAU ball and his high school team didn’t stray too far from Jersey last season.
Towns did play in the Nike Hoop Summit in April and competed at the NBPA Top 100 Camp earlier this month. Scout.com’s Evan Daniels was one of several national analysts that attended the latter event.
“I like his hands, I like his size and length,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “At his size, he can step out and shoot jump shots pretty consistently, and that’s a weapon. He’s turned into a much better rebounder than he was at a younger age. I also really like his ability to pass. He’s a pretty good passer out of the post and the high post.”
One knock on Towns out of the Top 100 camp was his weight. The player and his father said he’s tried to put on some pounds in preparation for his upcoming stint with the Dominican national team, but he also seemed to have lost a little of the quickness he had during the high school season.
“He gained a little weight and didn’t move quite as well as maybe he did a year ago,” Daniels said.
Chicago big man Jahlil Okafor held on to the No. 1 spot in Scout.com’s updated Top 100. He was followed by Tyus Jones, Emmanuel Mudiay, Trey Lyles, Myles Turner and Cliff Alexander.
All six of those players are being recruited by Kentucky, and Turner is the only one in that group who does not have a UK scholarship offer. The 7-footer from Texas was an unranked three-star prospect just a few weeks ago, but he’s quickly turned into a unanimous top-10 prospect.
“He’s the break-out guy this spring. He’s this year’s Anthony Davis, so to speak,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader earlier this month.
The Scout.com analyst also said Turner could easily be paired with Towns. Their games complement each other well, he said. “There couldn’t be a frontcourt better than that one.”
UK target Stanley Johnson moved up a few spots to No. 8. Shooting guards Rashad Vaughn (11th) and Devin Booker (31st) are the other two 2014 prospects with UK scholarship offers.
Other players on UK’s radar are Craig Victor (14th), Josh Perkins (18th), Goodluck Okonoboh (37th) and Abdul Malik Abu (51st).