Towns praises Coach Cal, Kentucky in recent interview

When Karl-Anthony Towns arrived on campus at Kentucky in 2014, he was not projected to be the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

By the end of the year, despite playing limited minutes from the platoon system, Towns was the clear choice to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft and he rewarded the Minnesota Timberwolves for making that selection by becoming the fifth unanimous NBA Rookie of the Year in league history.

So how did Towns, who averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 21.1 minutes per game, go from a top-10 prospect coming out of high school to the clear No. 1 prospect entering the draft in just one season at Kentucky?

Karl-Anthony Towns said playing at Kentucky is “different” and made him a “smarter player.” (photo by Chet White, UK Athletics)

“It made me a smarter player when you go though a journey like that and it’s at the University of Kentucky. It’s different,” Towns told CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave in a one-on-one interview. “It’s something that can’t be talked about. It’s something that has to be witnessed and experienced. It’s amazing, the things you learn, the experiences you go through, the feeling of being like a rock star that goes with being a University of Kentucky basketball player. Just the ability to feel fame for the first time – that’s something Kentucky gives you.”

Towns and Forgrave covered a number of topics in their conversation, including what his first big purchase was with his NBA contract, walking to games, music, the best bigs in the game and living in Minnesota.

Included in the piece are a few good bits on Coach Cal, who Towns said was harder on him than his Timberwolves head coach, Tom Thibodeau. Through all the tough coaching, Towns said he knew everything Calipari did for him was out of love.

“He’s probably one of the few coaches in the whole entire game that is all about his players more than he is about himself or even the institution,” Towns said of Calipari. “He looks at us as his sons. And he puts us first before everything. He’s tremendously loyal, tremendously supportive of his players — his past players the same as his present players. He treats all of us the exact same way. Just the respect.”

Towns called Coach Cal “tremendously loyal and tremendously supportive of his players” in an interview with CBS Sports’ Reid Forgrave. (photo by Chris Reynolds)

In February, Forgrave asked Coach Cal what his hypothetical All-Kentucky starting five would be. Calipari went with John Wall at point guard, Devin Booker at shooting guard, and Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMarcus Cousins as his forwards.

After that interview came out, Towns said he was texted about it “a billion times,” and that it was a “huge honor” to be included on the team, especially after only being in the NBA for two seasons. But after becoming the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points, grab 1,000 rebounds and knock down 100 3-pointers in a single season this year, it’s hard to argue anything other than that Towns should be on that team.

“There’s not another school that could boast about saying that you make a starting five and I guarantee you beat almost anyone else in the NBA,” Towns said. “You can pick your favorite five people from Kentucky, I’m pretty sure it can be someone else’s favorite five people from another school. That’s just a testament to what Cal has brought to the table and the expectations Kentucky holds and his ability to grow players. I don’t know who my starting five would be. I know it’ll be four other players, but I’m gonna be one of them.”

It’s a great interview by Forgrave. Check it out by clicking here.