This story actually began when YouTube videos surfaced of an eighth-grader named Karl Towns, standing 6-foot-10, ran up and down the court against kids more than 15 inches shorter than him.
Then the story gained steam when viewers never hit the stop button and kept watching – marveling, really – at how this baby-faced teen could emphatically block shots in the paint as well as he could swoosh a silky-smooth rainbow jumper from beyond the three-point arc.
People in the Garden State started talking, and the chatter never ceased, right up until we found out Towns would enroll at St. Joseph (Metuchen) for his freshman season of high school ball. The rookie sensation validated the hype from those clips and rumors and buzz when he recorded seven points and pulled down 15 rebounds in his debut, a sizeable victory over Colonia on December 16 this winter.
He continued to prove himself on the court, the way many ninth-grade prodigies do around America. And Towns, who sports a size-20 sneaker and a frame that makes you wonder just how monstrous he truly will be one day when his body fully develops, ended his first campaign on Friday night in the Tournament of Champions semifinal.
It was a night Plainfield ran past the overmatched Falcons, 70-48, and punched its ticket to face mighty St. Anthony in the Big Show on Tuesday night at IZOD Center. It was also a night Towns grew up.
Tabbed as the most talented freshman in the country by multiple recruiting media outlets, Towns finished the year averaging 11.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.8 blocks, and 2.0 3-pointers per contest. He notched 15 double-doubles in 31 games, officially establishing himself as the next big thing in New Jersey.
How many times are we granted the privilege to watch a 15-year-old as big as Towns who can alter games near the basket and from the perimeter?
Many have wondered if Towns is the second coming of former St. Joseph standout Andrew Bynum, now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers. Others asked if he could be more heralded than another Falcons alumnus, Jay Williams, who went on for a great career at Duke before becoming the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft years ago. Here’s the truth: Towns very well could be better.
So all this praise is being handed out on this day, just 48 hours after Towns looked like a lost freshman for the first time all season. In St. Joe’s season-ending loss to the Cardinals at the RAC before a crowd of nearly 5,000, he did not score, pulled down one measly rebound and was caught up in foul trouble the entire game before being disqualified midway through the fateful fourth quarter.
And here’s the kicker: Towns was mature and confident in his post-game interview by complimenting his counterpart, Plainfield center Justin Sears.
“He’s a great player inside,” he said. “I spent a lot of time watching film on him, but going out and playing against him is a lot different. We tried to contain him and he’s a big-time player going to Yale. I thought I did a good job and was confident.”
Towns has a lot to learn, as any first-year player does, but he proved he’s light-years ahead of his peers. Not only has he excelled on the hardwood, he serves as class president, carries a 4.3 GPA and yearns to grow as a respectable young man.
It’s not every day we’re introduced to a winner like Karl Towns. Big kid, big future – and the ride has just begun.
Good for us. Good for him.
Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter