A first impression from the Hopkins High School gym Wednesday morning: All that work Karl-Anthony Towns has done with his three-point shot is paying off.
There he was, locked in a shooting contest with Maddyn Greenway, the grade-school daughter of Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway. A number of contestants had been whittled to Towns and Maddyn. It was the first day of Towns’ ProCamp, which attracted nearly 200 kids from grades 1-12.
One after another Maddyn — shooting 5-footers — took on Towns, shooting threes.
Showing no mercy, Towns prevailed.
“She gave me a run for my money,” said Towns, the Timberwolves center/forward and reigning NBA rookie of the year. “It’s like she had a basketball court in her basement or something.”
Towns — between posing for pictures and signing autographs for campers — said that Minnesota has become his home, that he hopes to play his entire career with the Wolves and that nobody should underestimate the Wolves’ chances.
“A lot of people tend to think we’re the Timberwolves, we’re at the bottom of the barrel,” Towns said. “I want everyone to know we’re coming. Just remember us. Remember how we were the last 13 years, ’cause things are about to change.”
It’s been a busy summer for Towns. He appeared on a Disney TV show and attended the ESPYs.
But he said he has found the time to continue working on his craft. He said he has added some new moves he promised to unveil this upcoming season. And he clearly worked on his three-point shot, too.
“I went back to my roots,” he said. “When I was in high school I shot a lot of threes. So I went back to my roots, did some drills I used to do. And it has paid dividends. My shot looks the best it’s looked in four years. I’m really happy.”
And, also happy being in Minnesota.
“I was born and raised in New Jersey, I love New Jersey,” he said. “But I’m always trying to rush back here to Minnesota. So, this is where I call home. I have a lot of my blood and sweat and tears here. … I love being here. Hopefully I can spend the rest of my career here.”
Towns said he has kept close track of the Wolves through the draft and free agency. He again expressed his total confidence in president of basketball operations and coach Tom Thibodeau and General Manager Scott Layden.
And he has kept in close contact with teammates as well.
“We talked a lot about things we want to do,” he said. “How we see the season playing out. How everything in our division looks, to how the league looks in terms of what we have to do. We’re concocting a plan to be the best Timberwolves team that’s come around in a long time.”
But that will take work.
When asked what he expected in camp this fall, Towns mentioned defense. It is Thibodeau’s calling card, of course.
And, of course, Towns expects camp to be a physical test.
“I expect it to be very intense,” Towns said. “Possibly, for a lot of us, the hardest training camp of our lives.”