University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari remains loyal to the athletes that pass through his program, well after they graduate to the NBA. The "one-and-done" pioneer shared his personal into the KAT-Jimmy Butler saga with ESPN yesterday. According to the Kentucky coach, it was Derrick Rose who coached Karl-Anthony Towns and ultimately helped him overcome the rising tempers in the 'Wolves locker room, mostly emanating from Jimmy Butler.
"I bet that environment was so uncomfortable for him," Calipari said in an interview with ESPN's Jackie MacMullan. "First of all, he (KAT) and Jimmy are totally different people—how they were brought up, their likes and dislikes, how they approach competition. You have one guy on this side and one guy on the other side. There was a dogfight, and Karl's not one to get into that. So, he stepped back."
Calipari refrained from labeling Jimmy Butler a problem, opting instead for a more inclusive synoptic understanding. But when it came to identifying Towns' biggest ally throughout the process, Calipari didn't mince his words. "Derrick is the one who got Karl through that whole Butler mess," Calipari told Jackie MacMullan. Calipari went to describe Rose's guiding hand as a filtration process in which real tension was repurposed as constructive criticism. KAT is all the better for it.