Kentucky signee Karl Towns has been named the Gatorade National Player of the Year, it was announced…
Karl Towns: Senior Refresher
Karl Towns' situation at Metuchen (N.J.) St. Joseph differs from that of many elite seniors. He plays for a balanced club with other talented players, and therefore — though he's plenty capable — he doesn't have to post enormous scoring numbers every night for his team to win. This season, Towns has proved he can push his team to victories as a scorer, rebounder and shotblocker, which is significant because most of his work on the travel circuit focused on offense. Clearly, he's among the most skilled post scorers in the senior class. Though not as powerful with his back to the basket as those at the very top, he possesses a more expansive game with shooting range to the perimeter and ample ball skills. His turnaround jumper is smooth and refined, and that shot alone should give him a go-to weapon in Lexington and beyond. His timing and alertness also are impressive, and thus he assists the team as a passer and shotblocker despite lacking great explosiveness. Further cultivating his defense and rebounding are areas he can blossom. Athleticism always has been the issue. Towns doesn't run as well as most blue-chip big men and doesn't always finish reliably in traffic. The frontcourt situation at Kentucky could become interesting for that reason, because he and the other heralded frontcourt signee, Trey Lyles, possess similar strengths and weaknesses. But about those strengths. Even if they aren't skywalkers or supremely quick in terms of reflexes, having two highly skilled big men operating in tandem is a good thing. Towns can play on the low block — and will improve at establishing position as he gains strength — and also the high post, same as Towns. Screening for each other and forcing the opponent's center to step away from the rim area will benefit Kentucky's entire offense. Thinking longer term, Towns likely will evolve into more of a face-up player professionally. His game appears born for pick-and-pop, and big men who can perform that function typically enjoy very lengthy and prosperous careers.
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