Rose sets his sights 2012 Olympics in London


Feb 10

By Adam Fluck

On Wednesday, Bulls guard Derrick Rose took one more step closer to another one of his goals—United States Olympian.

Rose was among 27 players named to the 2010-12 USA Men’s National Team program. The selections were announced by USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo.


“I’m happy just to be a part of it,” Rose said on Wednesday. “It’s something that I tried hard in the summer just to make the team and impress the coaches. For me to go there and have the opportunity to be on the team in 2012 means a lot.”

Bulls General Manager Gar Forman presented Rose with his USA Basketball jersey during an on-court ceremony just before the Bulls and Magic tipped off.

As one might expect, the list of players who Rose will join is loaded. Returning to the USA National Team for 2010-12 are 2008 Olympic gold medalists Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Deron Williams. But Rose talked optimistically about making the final cut.

“I’ve got a chance, a pretty good chance to tell you the truth,” Rose said about the opportunity. At the same time, Rose expressed a belief that certain spots on the final roster are more or less assured—players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, for example—which means that only a small amount of roster spots are truly up for grabs.

He saw first-hand how intense the practices were was when he was a member of USA Men's National Team mini-camp in Las Vegas last July, so he has a good idea of what to expect.

“The [camp] this past summer was really competitive,” said Rose. “People were getting hurt during scrimmages. Everybody was playing hard, and they make you play hard to tell you the truth when you play against each other.”

USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski led the U.S. to Olympic gold in 2008 and in 2010 will look to lead the USA to gold at the FIBA World Championship.

Over the course of 2010-12, USA Men’s National Teams will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship (Aug. 28-Sept. 12 in Turkey); if necessary the 2011 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD); and if the USA qualifies, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games (July 26-Aug. 12 in London, England).

“I’ve just got to continue to play hard and make sure I do everything right for Coach K and the coaches,” said Rose. “I look up to that coaching staff and it would be an honor to be on that team.”

It’s been a very good year for Rose so far. He averaged 23.4 points, 6.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds in January as the Bulls went 10-5 during the month and won five in a row against winning teams during a West Coast road trip, a first in NBA history.

Rose also achieved NBA All-Star status on Jan. 28 when the reserves were announced. He’ll compete in the Skills Challenge this Saturday, followed by the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

But ever the team player, Rose said his hope is that the Bulls can continue the upward trend when the schedule resumes next Tuesday in Chicago against New York.

“I hope we come back focused, that’s the biggest thing,” he said. “We need to get back on the right track and play hard. As long as we play hard, we’ll have a chance to win these games. We have a chance to get over .500 [on Wednesday] and we have to take advantage of that.”

The NBA trade deadline is also right around the corner and speculation will certainly come with it. The Bulls reportedly will consider a move to improve their position with respect to the salary cap and this summer’s free agent crop.

When asked about a possible move, Rose said he’s fine either way.

“I’m alright with the players that we have,” said Rose. “If they choose to do something different, that’s not up to me. It’s up to the front office to make that decision. I’ll be happy with whatever move they make.”

For Rose, first there is All-Star weekend, the regular season gets back underway next week, and hopefully a playoff run that beings in April. But on Wednesday, Rose couldn’t help but ponder the possibility of adding Olympian to his quickly growing list of accolades.

“I remember watching the Olympics with my Mom when the games would come on really late at night,” he said. “We stayed up watching those games and when they got their medals, I was happy for them. That’s a dream of mine, and hopefully that day will come.”

Audio—Bulls guard Derrick Rose on being named to the 2010-2012 USA Men’s National Team program, All-Star weekend and the second half of the season (02.10.10):

Audio—Bulls Head Coach Vinny Del Negro on Rose’s selection to the USA Men’s National Team program, taking a break over All-Star weekend, and facing the Orlando Magic (02.10.10):

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