Karl-Anthony Towns just realizing his potential

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Karl Anthony-Towns has always played by his own rules.  He is probably one of the very few top targets that I can think of that eschewed the AAU route his senior year in high school and instead played with the Dominican National Team.  And despite being part of the platoon system with the Kentucky Wildcats and getting maybe half the minutes of players on other teams, Towns has worked his way to a probably top three spot in the NCAA Draft and is in contention for the top slot overall.  And he is just scratching the surface of his potential.  

"Instead of hitting the proverbial freshman wall, Towns, has instead excelled as the season has progressed, a tribute to his coachability and willingness to listen and apply teachings to his game. “With him, it’s just the more you give him the more he absorbs,” Rohrssen said. “He’s a sponge in that he wants to get better. He’s always asking you stuff every day, each practice, from game to game, and that’s one of the things about Karl that you just love to coach.” After a run of games where he played well in the first half but was oddly absent in the second half, Towns began doing a workout routine at halftime with UK strength coach Robert Harris. In the six games since, Towns has reached double figures in scoring four times, and has recorded a double-double three times. In the previous 21 games, Towns had reached double figures in scoring eight times, and had two double-doubles. “I’m just glad that all these days of working out, practicing and having great practices, having great workouts, has come to the forefront,” Towns said when asked about receiving praise from Coach Cal after the Cats’ win over Georgia six games ago. “I’m putting a lot of things together and I’m just having a ball playing. I’m glad I was able to make that hustle play for the team. I don’t have to be recognized for what I do, I just want to get the W.”"

Meanwhile, if you are looking to send an extra “Fathers Day”  card this year, go ahead and send one out to Aaron Harrison Sr.  Ky;e Tucker has a great article about how last year, the elder Harrison took time out to head to Lexington to spend time with Aaron when he was struggling through his freshman season.  This year, Harrison has spent time with Andrew during his rough stretch.  I don’t know what he says, but Mr. Harrison definitely says the right things to his kids.  

"He flew in for four days in early February to counsel and workout with Andrew. He arrived armed with old videos of his son as a five-star recruit dominating high school and AAU basketball and even holding his own against the NBA’s J.R. Smith while he was still just a teenager. Although they look similar, Harrison’s sons “operate totally different,” he said, and thus need different kinds of help from their father to get their games back on track. “Aaron was more, ‘Let’s work on my mechanics.’ Andrew is more like, ‘OK, Andrew, this is what you’re supposed to look like,'” Harrison Sr. said. “All I did really was show him a tape of himself. He’s 6-foot-6, 215, can get in the lane when he wants to. I thought he’d lost that.” Cats coach John Calipari, who has tutored more elite point guards than perhaps any coach in college basketball, agreed. He’d begun to command Andrew to attack, attack, attack or take a seat next to him on the bench. The combined message finally took, and Andrew took off. He’s averaged 11.5 points, 4.4 assists and just 1.6 turnovers over the last eight games, boosting his shooting percentage to 43.9 percent overall and 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. He’s coming off a nine-assist, one-turnover night against Auburn on Saturday."

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

As we know, Tyus Battle cut Kentucky from consideration yesterday. It was a bit surprising when any player cuts UK that early, as Battle is in the 2016 class. However, Ben Roberts has a great rundown of the backcourt targets in the 2016 class that could end up as Kentucky Wildcats. Of course, 2016 is a long ways off but UK will probably need to restock those positions.

"Kentucky could have several returning backcourt players by the time recruits from the class of 2016 start their college careers. Tyler Ulis would be a junior in 2016 if he stays at UK for two more seasons, while Dominique Hawkins (senior) and Charles Matthews (sophomore) will likely still be around. It’s increasingly unlikely that Devin Booker will stick around more than two seasons, and Isaiah Briscoe is projected to be a one-and-done after his freshman year at UK next season. Calipari is still recruiting Malik Newman for the class of 2015, but he will almost certainly be a one-and-done player no matter where he ends up."