The star attraction was Karl Towns, who walked into his high school gym Tuesday morning as the No. 1-ranked recruit in the class of 2015.
Hundreds of his classmates at St. Joseph High in Metuchen, N.J., awaited his college announcement. Thousands of others watched the live broadcast online from their homes and offices.
And Towns' mother stole the show.
The 7-foot center first announced that he was joining the class of 2014.
"And the university I decided to play for in the year of 2014 ... is the University of Kentucky," Towns said.
With that, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns clapped wildly and embraced her son.
"Thank you, son! Thank you!" she exclaimed.
Towns was expecting the reaction. He said his father, Karl Towns Sr., was the only other person who knew he would pick Kentucky before he announced it.
"She had no idea where I was going," Towns told the Herald-Leader. "And I'm her little baby boy, so she was going to be excited no matter what school I picked.
"But she really wanted me to go to Kentucky badly."
Mom got her wish, and so did John Calipari.
Calipari coached Towns with the Dominican Republic national team over the summer, and he'll coach him again when Towns comes to Lexington as a freshman for the 2014-15 season.
Towns, who turned 17 last month, had some preconceptions of the UK coach before meeting him for the first time over the summer.
"I thought he was going to be really loud and he was going to be really crazy and I was right on both," he said with a laugh.
The national team experience, which included training in Lexington, practices against NBA forward Al Horford and an exhibition game with Team USA, acquainted Towns with Calipari and UK basketball.
He learned the sky hook from assistant coach Del Harris. He bonded with Orlando Antigua, who, like Towns' mother, is from the Dominican Republic. He singled out Rod Strickland for improving his game.
And, of course, there was Calipari.
"I love Coach, man," Towns said. "He's really pushed me hard to be the best player I can be every day. He just expected more of me than even what I expected of myself. I respected Coach a lot."
With Towns' reclassification to 2014 — he's a 4.0-plus student who is already taking advanced courses — the national recruiting services scrambled to adjust their rankings.
ESPN rated Towns as the No. 3 overall player in his new class.
Scout.com placed him seventh overall.
"For his size, he has a tremendous skill set," Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels told the Herald-Leader. "He's a guy that can step out and shoot threes. He has great hands and great touch around the rim."
Towns possesses a unique skill set for a player of his size. He's an exceptional passer and ball handler, and he's a confident three-point shooter.
Calipari and his Dominican coaching staff helped Towns bolster his post game, which is where he'll be expected to play in college.
Towns Sr., a former standout at Monmouth who now coaches basketball in New Jersey, said he saw a marked improvement in his son's game.
"They made him understand that what you do outside needs to be done inside," Towns Sr. said on Tuesday's broadcast. "And if you become an inside threat, with the shot you have, you'll be just more of a dangerous weapon."
Towns' classmates cheered when he said he was going to Kentucky, but there was no response when he announced his intentions to leave high school a year earlier than expected.
They'll be sorry to see him go.
St. Joe's Athletics Director Jerry Smith said Towns is beloved at the school.
Smith told one story of how Towns, who had been at St. Joe's for only a week, went with a fellow student to the hospital after that student had been injured in a flag football game.
"He'd never even met the kid," Smith said.
Towns was voted freshman class president and acts as an ambassador for the school by talking to parents of prospective students. Smith said Towns stays after games to sign autographs, pose for pictures and even shoot balls with the younger children still hanging around the gym.
"I've been in education for 47 years, and you don't see a kid like this — how mature he is, and how upstanding he is, and how he cares," Smith said. "This is a special kid."
Towns said he picked UK in part due to its kinesiology program, which he called "one of the best" in the country.
He also said he wanted to be known as more than a basketball player, and showed a forward-thinking outlook not often found in a 17 year old.
"The basketball comes secondary," Towns said. "Yeah, it's great to be on a great basketball team, but once that basketball stops dribbling, what am I going to do with the rest of my life? I always like having secondary plans."
Ben Roberts: (859) 231-3216. Twitter: @NextCats. Blog: ukrecruiting.bloginky.com