Karl-Anthony Towns Interview
Karl Anthony Towns has become one of the small handful of candidates to be the #1 pick in the 2015 draft. We were able to catch up with Karl before the 2014 Hoop Summit. He had a reputation to uphold after impressing with his poise, maturity and skill set displayed during the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit. Being the lone returnee came with increased expectations to show the Hoop Summit regulars something new and improved. Already with an impressive resume that includes being a part of the 2012 Dominican Republic Men’s Senior team, the Kentucky commit definitely looked much stronger and more agile in this year’s contest. He played closer to the basket, while continuing to show the shooting ability that along with his size could make him a match-up nightmare.
His senior season at St. Joseph’s Metuchen was a smashing success, garnering him 2014 Gatorade National Player of the Year honors. He also nabbed the Gatorade New Jersey state player of the year honors for the second year in a row, finishing with averages of 21.5 ppg, 13.7 rpg, 4.7 apg and 6.4 bpg. On top of the individual success, Towns was a major part of a team that went 30-2 on the season and won their first New Jersey Tournament of Champions in school history.
Towns finished the 2014 Hoop Summit with 6 points, 8 rebounds and a couple blocks as his World Team fell to the USA, 84-73. The result may not have been what he wanted, though it was hard not to come away impressed with Towns’ development as a basketball player in a year’s time. I sat down with Towns to ask him a bit about his past, while also discussing his plans for the upcoming season, where he will start for a Kentucky team with national championship aspirations.
NBADraft.net: First off, what is the difference between the 2013 basketball player Karl Towns at the Hoop Summit in comparison to the 2014 version?
Karl-Anthony Towns: I think physically, big time physically. Changing my body, making sure I’m able to be a force everywhere on the post. Getting a better base, better shape, better jump shot and I feel that all of my skills have improved or are more polished. I’m just glad I had a chance to do a lot of good things before I came here.
NBADraft.net: Have noticed you are great at communicating on the court. Where does that come from?
Karl-Anthony Towns: Mostly just my father always is teaching me how to be a leader. Also just being on the Dominican National Team, when you play on the professional team everyone has to talk. If no one talks, you don’t win. It grew on me to communicate to my teammates at all times and just try to direct traffic.
NBADraft.net: How did your experience with the Dominican Republic change you as a player?
Karl-Anthony Towns: You know for me, it just gave me a higher IQ of the game. It allowed me to learn some new moves and styles that I had not been exposed to before. Also, it taught me how to be more of a leader. Learned ways to help teach my team how to win a championship and using my experience I was able to do that in New Jersey, winning the TOC (Tournament of Champions).
NBADraft.net: Talk about your last high school season, did it live up to your expectations?
Karl-Anthony Towns: Oh, it most definitely did! We accomplished everything we needed to accomplish. Winning the TOC for the first time in our part of New Jersey, first time in our conference, first time in the schools history. Just being able to do a lot in that school for the first time ever, with such greats as Jason “Jay” Williams and Andrew Bynum having (also) gone there. It means a lot that I was able to accomplish so much.
NBADraft.net: What was it like to get a surprise visit from recent Hall-of-Fame inductee, Alonzo Mourning, upon winning the Gatorade Player of the Year?
Karl-Anthony Towns: You know, it was funny, because when he was there at first I thought he was a substitute art teacher at first. It was just a big time surprise to see Alonzo Mourning in my art class just standing there, than it was even more of a surprise to see that I had won the National Gatorade Player of the Year.
NBADraft.net: What is your focus as far as preparing for your first college season?
Karl-Anthony Towns: For me, my focus is really on just winning a national title, doing whatever is necessary. Everyone keeps asking me about the NBA, NBA this, NBA that. My only focus right now is to win a national title, that is the only focus in my mind, that is the only goal in my mind. You know, I just want to go out to Kentucky and raise #9.
NBADraft.net: Do you have any expectations as far as your role during your freshman season?
Karl-Anthony Towns: I see myself trying to be a leader and trying to contribute anyway I possibly can for the team. Want to be able to go in there and make an impact for the team, be able to be called upon be called upon whenever we are in an important situation. When the coach has faith in you on that day, you know you are doing something right.
NBADraft.net: What are your plans in regard to playing with the Dominican Republic National Team in the future?
Karl-Anthony Towns: For me, I’m staying with the Dominican National Team. I started there and I am going to finish there. I am a big guy about pride, making sure I stay with what I believe, the people who have been helping me since I was younger. It’s all about respectability. I just like being respected as a guy who did not change schools. New Jersey is famously known for the transfers and I was staying at the same school for 3 years. I want to do the same thing with the Dominican team; I started somewhere and want to finish it up.
NBADraft.net: If you could play any current NBA player in a game of “HORSE”, who would it be?
Karl-Anthony Towns: Um, would probably be KD (Kevin Durant). He’s my favorite player, just the way he scores, and being able to beat him at “HORSE” would be a great win!
NBADraft.net: Plus a two-time All-Star winner in HORSE as well! What did it mean for you to get a 2nd invite to the Hoop Summit and how are you going to use it to your advantage?
Karl-Anthony Towns: It was a great honor to be able to come back to the Nike Hoop Summit again. Trying to keep up the tradition of the World Teams wins. Am happy I was here and was invited. Not many people get the chance to do it once, much less twice! Am very blessed and honored to be here. Just want to use the experience from last year of winning that game at such a big standpoint to my advantage. I want to use the experience last year to hope everyone and help myself, win the game.
NBADraft.net: Finally, what would it mean to you to beat the US again?
Karl-Anthony Towns: It would mean we were doing a great job in practice for the whole week. Coach (Roy) Rana is doing a great job of giving us a great game plan to go in with. We are doing a great job of practicing it in practice, but you know, we just have to execute. If we can execute, it shows that we would have done a great job on that day as well as having done a great job in preparing for the game.
NBADraft.net: Thank you so much Karl, and best of luck to you!