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    Towns wins Gatorade Player of the Year

    by Brian Fitzsimmons on
    Wed, Mar 20, 2013 12:52 PM

    Updated Sat, Mar 23, 2013 10:27 AM

     

    St. Joseph (Met.) center Karl Towns, one of the top prospects in the Class of 2014, was named New Jersey's Gatorade Player of the Year on Thursday. The 7-foot Kentucky commit was honored just one day after news broke he will compete with the World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Ore.

    At the Hoop Summit, Towns will join the top high school players in the world -- including Canadian Andrew Wiggins (Huntington Prep, W. Va.), whom many scouts feel is the best teenager since LeBron James. The World Team is slated to face the USA, which boasts Duke-bound Jabari Parker (Simeon, Ill.) and a bevy of other future Division I players.

    This prestigious, high-profile event had once hosted NBA stars Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant, among many others. Towns will join some famous alumni to have worn the World jersey, including Tony Parker (France), Serge Ibaka (Congo) and Dirk Nowitzki (Germany).

    Towns, a Piscataway native, was selected to Kentucky coach John Calipari's Dominican national team in late May and traveled the world this past summer with the squad, which finished one position shy of making the cut for the 2012 Olympic games.

    Alongside NBA teammates Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks and Francisco Garcia of the Sacramento Kings, Towns helped the Dominican Republic to a fourth-place finish in the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament.

    Towns, whose mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, is Dominican, trained with the Dominican senior national team last year and was invited back. In the final game of the squad's international tour against Team USA, the 17-year-old drained a 3-pointer, recorded a snazzy no-look assist and grabbed two rebounds.

    On Tuesday night, Towns and the Falcons wrapped up the 2012-13 campaign by falling to Roselle Catholic, 65-49, in the Tournament of Champions final at the Sun National Bank Center in Trenton. Towns was held to just seven points, but he eclipsed the 1,000-career point mark with a layup at the 2:12 mark of the third quarter.

    Towns scored a shade under 20 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots per contest this season.

    Contact Brian Fitzsimmons at bfitzsim@cablevision.com. Follow him on Twitter: @FitzWriter

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