Towns recaps Tobacco Road trip

Karl Towns

The top player from the class of 2015 visited the Triangle area last week for three unofficial visits to Duke, North Carolina, and NC State. On Saturday he spoke to TDD to recap the experience.

TDD: You were pretty active on Twitter this week, posting pics of you with a number of recent draft picks.

Karl Towns: The opportunity came for me to interview all those guys based on something I did previously where I got to interview Kevin Durant. This new group liked what I did before, so they sent me to this Rookie event to do some interviews with the guys there. It was really a good experience.

What were the questions you asked?

I had questions about how they feel about their new teams, and how the teams around them will affect what they do. It was mainly stuff like that, it was really great.

Was that your first time meeting those players ?

It was my first time meeting several of them, yes.

Switching to the visit tour, what prompted you to pick those three schools to visit all at once?

Well, Coach Turco my HS coach, he's the man behind the plan so all we did was follow what his plan was and go and visit all three schools. We are very thankful for the opportunity he gave us to go visit all three schools, it was really great.

What do you mean when you say he's the 'man behind the plan'?

Well, you know, it's a two way process. We both talk about what's important to us and then we talk it out and figure out what's important for us to do. Coach Turco is really great because he's always players first, so he's looking for my opinion and he gives his and we work out together what the next step is.

I'm curious what your mindset is that makes you so proactive at such an early age with your recruitment process?

My dad always talks to me about preparation and I'm always in the mindset of wanting to be ahead of the game. Getting these visits done early really helps me with my process so early in my high school career because it gives me something to look back on from personal experience and it helps me focus on my studies and also on continuing to develop my game.

Were there specific questions that you and your dad had going into the visit about each specific school?

Basically the biggest things were what my future would be and my education. Talking with Coach Turco, we always talk about colleges that will help me get a good education and who will also help me develop as a person and a basketball player. Those are big factors in picking a college. When I make my decision, hopefully you'll see those attributes behind my decision for whatever school I choose to attend.

As you were driving down, what questions did you have as you prepared for your visits?

We just really wanted all the visits to go well and learn what all the colleges had to offer. We also wanted to see what the colleges criteria was for me as a player to see if it fit with my criteria. Other than that we were just joking around having a good time, but once we got to campus, we were looking forward to learning more about what each school had to offer.

What do you mean by seeing if their criteria fits your criteria, can you elaborate on that?

I always wanted to be in the medical field, so I really wanted to learn a little bit about each school's pre-med program to see what I think of them. Also it was important to learn about their basketball programs because I really want to major pre-med, and I wanted to see what opportunities there were to do both. That's what I'm interested to do, so that's what we were looking at. All the schools do seem to have what I'm looking for.

How do you balance the desire to go pre-med with the ability and desire to play high major basketball, and possibly in the NBA?

You know, my mom is a nurse, so she's always influenced me to love the medical field, it just grew on me a lot over time and that's what I'm interested to major in in college. I've always been interested in kinesiology so i've followed that as a potential career field to look at. Basketball is always going to be around, but at the same time, education matters more because sooner or later the basketball will stop bouncing and I'm going to have to rely on something. I want to be able to rely on my education when that comes.

You mentioned your mom as an influence when it comes to the medical field, what kind nursing does she practice?

She works in a hospital as an LPN. She loves to be around people and help them, she's one of the main reasons why I aspire to work in the medical field. My mom really wanted to accomplish that goal of being an LPN and we cheered her on as she accomplished that.

Returning to the visits, who traveled with you?

It was me, my father, my coach, Coach Turco, my assistant coach who is now going to be the Head Coach at Woodbridge HS, and Coach Turco's son.

Were there specific things about the visits and schools that you found really stood out?

The big thing with all of them was I really liked all the coaches. They were all really great and they made me and my group very comfortable. From Coach Roy Williams at UNC to Coach Gottfried to Coach Krzyzewski, they were all really great in talking to them. It's really hard because they make you want to play for all of them, but at the end of the day it's going to come down to little things when I make my decision since they are all so great.

What kind of little things?

It's going to be something I can't make a decision on right now. It's going to be something you see years from now when its time to make a decision.

Can you take us through the highlights of your visits?

Karl Towns, Sr.: The biggest thing that they presented was talk about their programs and what they had on the table. They didn't go over a huge amount of stuff, they just talked about their programs and since these were just un-officials, they were only going to tell you so much.

Each coach had their own program philosophy that they were sharing about how they run their program. Coach K, you are talking about the best in the business, he was outstanding. Coach Gottfried, he's done such a great job at NC State and with Coach Williams, you always know about the mystique of North Carolina. Each of them were talking about how Karl would fit in and what he would bring to the program.

It was reported that Coach Gottfried put a firm scholarship offer on the table to Karl, and it looked like he was the only head coach to do that on this visit tour. Does the early offer stand out?

You know it was a great feeling because he's a first year coach at NC State, and he's got a great staff. Plus, they had a great run in the tournament, so it just shows us how things are going with Karl because this being our first time on Triangle Road in North Carolina, and to see somebody who understands how much potential Karl has by offering him a scholarship, it's a good thing.

Everybody else is right there though, with Duke, they have their own offer procedure, but it's definitely out there too from them with Karl. They are probably two of the best schools already now that they've offered. There's a procedure behind everything, Coach K was just so happy that Karl was there and was going to be involved.

What do you mean by "procedures"?

Karl Towns, Jr.: The real big thing about these offers is that Duke is such a high class school, and so education centered. Coach K gave me the offer, but if I want to accept it I have to go through the academic process with Duke to make sure that my grades are there. The offer for basketball is there from Duke he said, and he told me I need to continue to make sure my grades stay right and I need to keep pulling in good marks.

That's interesting that Duke came out with the offer as that hasn't been reported.

Karl Towns, Sr.: It's basically because they have that procedure for offers so that the players they offer can accept the scholarship to Duke. With NC State, it's a firm offer they said, and with Duke the offer is there, but there's just a procedure to go through. That's why we are focusing on the communication and taking it one step at a time. We want to stay focused on doing the right things and getting the info from all the colleges that we are considering.

I will say this though, Coach K…he's a great coach who does a great job, and we love Duke.

Was it something specific that left that impression?

Karl Towns, Jr: Not really. It's just that he's such a great coach, and he's put so many players in the NBA. Moreover, he also put guys in great places in life as well. He's such a great leader and a great person too.

What did the schools present about who they are as a program?

Karl Towns, Sr: They didn't show us a lot of stuff. It was basically more like a meet and greet. We were in meetings with the coaches, getting to know who they were. They expressed interested and learned about Karl, and who we were as a family. Then we had to get back to New Jersey. We came at a time where a lot of players were just coming back onto campus and were doing orientation, so there really wasn't a lot of communication with players.

So what's the next step in the early process for you guys?

Right now we've gotta get Karl ready for school, and that's coming up real soon. Also, practice is starting soon, so he'll be back in the weight room to get ready. Coach Turco will be mapping out a plan for the next group of schools we're going to go visit.

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