(CBS) On a tour promoting his new book “Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out,” Kentucky coach John Calipari joined the Mully and Hanley Show on Tuesday morning to address a variety of topics, including star Bulls point guard Derrick Rose, his former player at Memphis. Calipari said he’s glad Rose is taking his rehab cautiously from a right medial meniscus tear and not rushing back to the court, and he also offered some unique insight into what may have contributed to Rose’s injuries.
His work ethic.
“Now part of the reason he is injured at all — and it’s funny, I was just in … Dallas and saw Dwayne, his brother, and I said, ‘You know and I know, the kid would never get out of the gym,'” Calipari said. “He would spend five hours in the gym. And I would tell him, ‘Look, you can do what you’re doing in two (hours), kid. Quit being out there.’
“He is so driven to be special, he is so driven to bring a championship to Chicago that that’s how he is. That’s his make-up. Hey look, if I was coaching an NBA team and Chicago wanted to trade him to me, I’d do seven backflips and say, ‘Who do you want?'”
In reference to the idea that Rose can’t return to an elite level of play, Calipari said, “That’s all nuttiness.”
More below: Calipari discusses the NBA draft age limit, paying college players and the Donald Sterling fiasco
Calipari and Rose remain close, Calipari said, and he recently saw Rose at a Bulls’ game in Charlotte.
“His body looked better than I’ve ever seen it,” Calipari said. “He wants to play badly, but he wants to be healthy. He loves the city of Chicago — I mean, literally loves the city of Chicago. He’s one of the nicest people I’ve ever been around, defers and all that. And everybody wishes he would play, but he knows his body. I’m happy that the Chicago Bulls haven’t pushed the issue to say, ‘You got to play’ … They understand that he’s such a good kid. Someone on the outside, if it’s not your child or you have no relationship, (say), ‘You should play.’ Wait a minute, he’s got a career he’s got to think about. You have to understand, when Chicago took him he was 19 years old. So even at this age, what is he, 25 maybe? He still has eight years left of playing basketball if he handles this injury the right way.
“There’s only a few Derrick Roses (out there).”