Covering High School Sports in America
Karl Towns, a 6-foot-11, 230-pound rising sophomore from St. Joseph (Metuchen, N.J.), is living a dream this summer.

He is playing with the Dominican Republic national basketball team (his mother was born there) as it bids for an Olympic berth. Not long ago he played before 16,000 fans as his team defeated Puerto Rico 80-72 to win a 12-team tournament featuring professional teams from Central America. The victory provided him with his first of what probably will be many gold medals.

His teammates include NBA players Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks and Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings along with several former Division I college players.

AND he is coached by John Calipari, who guided Kentucky to the latest NCAA basketball championship.

Towns told the Newark Star-Ledger that playing for Calipari has improved his game "at least 150 percent. Coach Cal has taught me things about basketball I didn't even know existed. He is such a great coach and a great guy. I'm actually learning NBA plays and NBA defensive schemes. We spend so much time on little things like how to react in different offensive and defensive situations within 24 seconds, things I could not get anywhere else.

"I'm working on my post-up game with Del Harris, who has been an NBA head coach for over 30 years. I'm working on my ballhandling against NBA players, Division I players and great players who are 25, 30 years old. I guard Al Horford every single day in practice. We go at it all the time and he's one of the best power forwards in the NBA. When I think about all this, it's amazing. God has given me this opportunity and I don't take it for granted. It just makes me want to go out, to keep working and to keep succeeding."

A terrific bonus for his future (one and done?) college is that he carries a superb 4.3 GPA on a 4.5 scale with accelerated courses. Towns, who averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds and 3.9 blocks, also was president of the freshman class.