May 24, 2012, 12:31 PM EDT
It’s usually considered a pretty big feat when a player competes at an AAU level higher, perhaps a 15U player getting minutes with the 17U team. But what if one is a high school freshman, preparing to play for a country’s national team?
Karl Towns, a 6-11, 235-pound center from Metuchen, N.J., has made the Dominican National Team and will join the squad as they work to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.
“I felt like a little kid in a candy store,” Towns told MyCentralJersey.com. “This is something you dream about but you never actually think it’s going to happen. That dream has all of a sudden come true.”
Towns averaged 12 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks per game this past season at St. Joseph’s Metuchen (N.J.), helping the team to a 29-2 record and an NJSIAA Non-Public A title.
He gains eligibility for the team because his mother, Jacqueline, was born in the Dominican Republic.
As a rising sophomore, Towns is considered one of the top prospects in his class and has drawn early comparisons to fellow New Jersey native Andrew Bynum.
The Dominican Republic has not yet qualified for the Olympics, and will try to do so July 2-8 in Venezuela, where the team will compete for one of three final spots.
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment, obviously, but he’s not a kid who gets caught up in all the glamour,” St. Joe’s coach Dave Turco told the paper. “For him it’s going to be about seeing what he can do against some of the best basketball players in the world and getting feedback on what he needs to work on moving forward.”
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