October 19, 2012

Karl Towns' father reflects on UK visit

In talking with Karl Towns, and his father Karl Towns Sr., two things always stand out in the recruiting conversation.

One, the younger Karl is putting a huge emphasis on the academic quality of the schools he's considering; and two, the Towns family is looking for what they call a "class act program."

After visiting Kentucky for Big Blue Madness, it seems like the Wildcats have passed both tests.

The 6-foot-10 power forward from New Jersey, who on Thursday was named to the list of eight 2015 prospects who are five-star recruits by Rivals' Eric Bossi, and his father spoke to Cats Illustrated to set the record straight about their Big Blue Madness visit, their previous visit to Florida, and what's to come.

"The visit (to Kentucky) was awesome, just a great experience," Towns Sr. said. "Karl really enjoyed everything about it. Seeing the coaches and all the other great players that are there and that they're trying to recruit was just a beautiful thing."

After visiting Kentucky in the summer for business, as Towns was participating in the Dominican Republic National Team training camp coached by Kentucky coach John Calipari, this second visit to Lexington focused mainly on the pleasure of enjoying Big Blue Madness; as well as investigating the academic offerings that UK has to offer.

A 4.0 GPA student at Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph's HS, Towns plans on pursing a doctorate degree in kinesiology after his basketball days; and finding an undergrad program for basketball that can get him in the right direction to that career path is of the utmost importance.

"It's a high level academic institution; everything was very well laid out," Towns said, "That's a big reason why we came down again was to listen to that presentation. Karl really wants to be in the kinesiology doctor field, and I think that Kentucky has an excellent program for that."

No matter how heralded of a prospect a kid is, it is rare that fans will know the name of a sophomore from hundreds of miles away. But Kentucky fans are a rare breed, and Towns said that several fans recognized his son; which being surrounded by so many other elite young talents meant a lot to the family.

"The fans were absolutely outstanding and a lot of them showed Karl love, which is very humbling. I was impressed with how knowledgeable the fans were and that they seemed to understand not only how good of a player Karl is, but how nice of a young man that he is; as a parent that is an extremely rewarding experience."

As of late, Towns is becoming one of the most traveled 2015 prospects in the nation. The week before taking his visit to Lexington, the five-star forward was at the University of Florida. This coming weekend, Towns will check out the midnight madness event at Duke; and could also potentially squeeze a visit to Michigan in before the high school season starts as well.

Similarly to the Kentucky visit, Towns Sr. had very good things to say about what the Gators are doing.

"The Florida visit was really good as well. That's another class-act program," said Towns.

"Florida and Kentucky are two spectacular schools with great basketball programs; in a way they're very similar. With coaches like John Calipari and Billy Donovan, and then assistants like Orlando Antigua and the Florida staff, there is just so much to offer."

With the connection to Calipari through the Dominican Republic National Team, and a strong connection to Florida through fellow Dominican, and Towns' idol Al Horford, the two SEC schools are consistently considered to be the top two schools on the list for Towns.

While his father would neither confirm nor deny that rumor, he did say that the Wildcats and Gators certainly to stand out right now.

"I don't want to speak for Karl, and I can tell you that as a parent we haven't really talked about that yet. We let him take things in and make his own decisions," said Towns.

"But I know that from our end as parents those are two of the top choices that we've seen so far; and I know that Karl loves both places."

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