Coach K and the Duke Blue Devils’ basketball team lost out on a very talented recruit this morning, as 6’11 center Karl Towns Jr., the number one overall recruit in the 2014 class, committed to Kentucky, where he will play for coach John Calipari and his NBA fast-track. Towns Jr was a member of the 2015 recruiting class until recently, when he reclassified himself to 2014 while still retaining his number-one prospect rank (previously held by Jahlil Okafor).
Towns Jr is an extremely talented player that, obviously, would have made the Blue Devils a much better team, regardless of where they stood talent-wise once the 2014-2015 season was upon us. From ESPN.com:
Karl is a tremendous prospect. He has nice size and length and has one of the most sought after skills in basketball…he can really shoot the ball! He has range to 25 feet and is a great catch and shoot player already.
A 6’11 center that can dominate inside and out? Yeah, that would’ve come in handy in just about any offense, especially Coach K’s spread attack that has a tendency to live and die from the three-point line.
I won’t get too into details about why Towns Jr chose Kentucky over Duke (or any other school on his list), because until he actually comes out and says “This is why I chose Kentucky”, I’ll just be blindly guessing. My blind guess for now? Calipari’s system, which specializes in fast-tracking players to the NBA, was too intriguing to pass up on. Also, you know, Kentucky is a very good program in terms of prestige, fan support, winning percentage, etc…and I’m sure playing for the one of the most historic college programs ever had some appeal.
So, Duke misses out on a big-time recruit. Oh well. There will be more, and the last two premiere recruits they’ve landed (Austin Rivers, Kyrie Irving) didn’t make much of an impact during their time in a Duke uniform, whether it be because of chemistry issues (Rivers) or a season-long injury (Irving). I’m sure Duke will field a very talented team without him. Congratulations on your decision and best of luck to you throughout your career, Mr. Towns Jr.