If Karl-Anthony Towns somehow had stayed at Kentucky for his entire eligibility, he’d still be there, just finishing his senior season.



Thursday’s Chicago-Loyola/Nevada NCAA tournament game served as another reminder of that.

Loyola senior Marques Townes – Towns’ high-school teammate at St. Joe’s in New Jersey -- made the three-point shot that put away former Timberwolves assistant coach Eric Musselman’s Nevada team and sent the Chicago school on to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1963.

“I talk to him all the time, I’m really happy for him,” Towns said at the Wolves’ morning shootaround in Madison Square Garden this morning. “It has been a journey for him to get to this point, to get with a team like this. Everybody is seeing what he did now, but they don’t know what he had to go through to get to that point…It’s going to be great to see his career progress, watching him make a run in this NCAA tournament.”

Two members of that St. Joe’s team – Towns and guard Wade Baldwin – were selected in the NBA draft’s first round, with Towns going No. 1 overall to the Wolves in 2015, of course. (His Kentucky team that season advanced to the Final Four before being upset by Wisconsin.)

Now a third has made a name for himself.

“I’m extremely happy for him,” Towns said.

Other stuff from shoot before tonight’s 6:30 p.m. Central time tip against the Knicks:

  • Guard Derrick Rose did not travel with the team to New York because of that sprained ankle sustained Tuesday against the Clippers. Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau continues to call Rose “day to day,” but said it’s very unlikely Rose would join the team for Saturday’s game at Philadelphia as well.
  • On Sunday, injured All Star Jimmy Butler called this week’s rehabilitation crucial to his recovery from knee surgery. Thibodeau won’t put a timeline on Butler’s return, but Butler said Sunday he intends to be back playing before the regular season ends April 11. “Just moving along, going step by step,” Thibodeau said. “That’s the most important thing for him. He’ll know when he’s ready to go. When he’s ready, he’s ready.”