Townes' block party powers Hargrave

Updated story has details of the 6-10, 235-pound Razorback signee following Friday's triple-double with another near one on Saturday as he drops in 21 points, grabs 11 rebounds and swats away 9 blocks in 111-68 home win over Louisburg Junior College.

MISENHEIMER, N.C. – Seconds after Darian Townes blocked a shot at the free throw line, grabbed it out of the air, flipped it ahead to a guard, ran the floor and then got it back for a dunk, a former member of the 1983 NCAA national champs sized the Hargrave Military Academy prospect up.

"That young man can go," noted Fordham head coach and former North Carolina State Derrick Whittenburg, proudly displaying his NCAA ring on his left hand. " (Arkansas head) Coach (Stan) Heath and (UA assistant) Ronny (Thompson) have got them a difference maker right there."

The 6-10, 235-pound Townes certainly got it done here on Friday afternoon with a triple-double effort of 12 points, 12 rebounds and 13 blocks in his prep school team's 112-65 thrashing of the junior varsity squad Pfeiffer College, an NCAA Division II school.

Townes, who originally signed with Georgetown after committing to the Hoyas as a sophomore, also had six assists.

Four of those were kicked off to Xavier signee Stanley Burrell, who poured in a game-high 34 points while knocking down an amazing 10 3-pointers – 7 of them coming in the first five minutes of the second half.

Those shots were open for Burrell because the big fellow had gotten his work done inside in the opening half and the Pfeiffer coach tried to shore up one problem and another one busted out.

"He was energized today and I have told people all along that he probably is the best shot-blocker in the country," Keatts said. "A lot of people think of him as just a defensive player, but he can score on the offensive end. He's got a nice jump hook and he can take the ball to the hole, is very aggressive and loves to flush it home."

Townes, averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds and 7 blocks per game this season, was 5-of-9 from the field on the day and 2-of-2 from the free throw line while jamming home three dunks during the contest.

"I am working hard on my jump shot and my hook shots," Townes said. "(Hargrave assistant) Coach (Chris) Zupko is always yelling "dunk that ball, finish it with a aggressive dunk, send a message to the other team. I try my best to do that, but if not I‘ve got the hook to bring to the table."

Townes followed that up on Saturday with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 9 blocks in a 111-68 hammering of Louisburg Junior College.

He was 7-of-11 from both the field and the free throw line and is shooting 57 percent from the field and 65 percent on the season this year.

Townes' whose 193 blocks as a high school sophomore broke Alonzo Mourning's high school markl, has now blocked 112 this season for Hargrave.

"He has had a great two day," Keatts said. "The fans are going to love him up there in Fayetteville."

The road win on Friday happened without the services of Florida State signee Isaiah Swann, one of the team's seven players who have already signed Division I scholarships.

Swann, Burrell and Townes join Lorenzo Wade (Louisville), Emannual Willis (USC) and Norman Plummer (Dayton) as ones already inked.

Hargrave is a place where Townes has seen his lifestyle change since arriving after an all-star prep career in Washington D.C.

"In the beginning, when I first got to Hargrave, it was tough," Townes said. "It was starting out in a new environment with nothing around, no big city, no cars, no nothing – it is just me and the trees. It was tough, but as the months have gone by I've gotten used to it and it has kind of changed me to where I really enjoy the peace and quiet."

Keatts said Hargrave's strict regimen does indeed take some getting used to for the newcomers at the school, which has students from the seventh grade to one-post graduate year.

"He's got to get 6, there's the marching and his classes go from 7:30 to 12," Keatts said. "Then he's got practice and mandatory study hall every night from 7:30 to 9:40 and then it's lights out at 10 o'clock and before you know it we are back up at six and it's starting all over again."

There was also an adjustment on the court for Townes, who played his sophomore season at T.C, Williams High – the school made famous by the movie Remember the Titans – and his junior and senior years at Archbishop Carroll in D.C.

"In high school I was used to playing against guys that were like 6-4 or 6-5 and occasionally 6-6," Townes said. "Stepping up this level, you find people that are as strong as you, as tall as you, as athletic as you and play as hard as you. So that makes us all better from going at each other that way."

Keatts said Arkansas has done a good job of continuing to recruit Townes even though he signed with them back in November.

"They have been in touch and they have done a tremendous job in recruiting him," Keatts said. "A lot of times when kids sign, people stop recruiting them and making them feel as special as they did before they signed, but Coach (Heath) hasn't done that. He has continued to recruit him, kept up with what's going on with Darian and our team and keeping him informed of what's going on with them."

Darian has been doing some keeping up on his own with his future college team.

"I love talking to Coach Thompson and Coach Heath," Townes said. "I am always thinking about the team and doing everything I can to keep up with them."

"I saw them when they played LSU," Townes said. "We are a little short, but have some great guards in Ronnie Brewer and Jonathon and Mike Jones finally played good last Saturday against Vanderbilt. That was good to see because he can really knock it down like some guys we have on this team."

He admits to thinking ahead about how much impact guys like himself and fellow Razorback recruits 6-10, 265-pound Al Jefferson, 7-0, 252-pound Steven Hill, 6-8, 235-pound Charles Thomas and 6-6, 185-pound point guard Dontell Jefferson could have immediately.

"With these class coming and the big guys we are getting together, I don't think no team is going to be able to stop us in the paint next season," Townes said. "Or at least we are going to be a lot to handle and are going to be trying to take it over inside. Then you put Ronnie Brewer and Jonathon Modica and Eric Ferguson and the others outside and Charles Thomas doing his thing all over the court, it's going to be on and very exciting. I cant' wait."

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