Bulls’ Rose: ‘My team is ready to fight’


Jul 29

Following a couple weeks in Las Vegas which ended with him being named among the 15 finalists for the 2010 USA World Championship Team, Derrick Rose is back home in Chicago.

But rather than taking a break from basketball, he’s still out on the courts, this week with several hundred Chicagoland area children at the second annual Derrick Rose Basketball Camp.

Held at the Joy of the Game in Deerfield, boys and girls ages 9 to 18 are eligible to attend and B.J. Armstrong, the former Bulls guard and Rose’s agent, who helps run the camp along with Rose’s brother, Reggie, said he wasn’t sure who has more fun—Rose or the campers.

“It’s definitely fun,” Rose agreed. Being with the kids, I love the kids more than anything. Just being around them and making sure they are doing everything right—being fundamental and playing their game—it’s fun.”

Rose is at the camp daily and can been seen moving from group to group, chatting with the campers, answering questions and even taking part in some of the competitions.

As for his hopes of being on the 2010-12 USA National Team’s final roster, his effort in Vegas did nothing to hurt his cause. Rose had 15 points, eight assists and five steals in intra-squad exhibition game over the weekend.

The 15 finalists will reassemble Aug. 9 in New York City and train there Aug. 10-16. The official 12-man USA roster that will compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship must be submitted to FIBA at the technical meeting that normally is held the day prior to the start of the competition.

“It feels good and hopefully I’ll make the cut in New York,” Rose said of surviving the first cut. “I’ve just got to continue to play hard and do whatever Coach K and the staff wants me to do. I should have a good shot.”

Based on Mike Krzyzewski comments made Wednesday during a conference call to announce the final 15, it sounds like he does.

“I thought he had a great week. I love Derrick,” Krzyzewski said of Rose. “Jerry [Colangelo], myself and Derrick are all from Chicago; that’s not why he made the final 15. I thought he had an absolutely incredible performance in the scrimmage on Saturday. His ability to move the ball down the court and penetrate—he had eight assists—was very, very good. Defensively, he took it up a notch this week. There’s a spirit of defense with the guards now with Rondo and Westbrook. Derrick really pressured the ball very, very well.”

Rose said he has enjoyed playing for Krzyzewski and that his mentality when the team reconvenes in New York in a few weeks is simple: keep working hard.

“[Coach K] wants to win and he has humor, a lot of humor,” said Rose. “He’s out there making sure you’re comfortable and laughing.”

Rose added that plenty of bonding among his teammates, including Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, took place in Vegas, something he believes will only help the squad’s chemistry moving forward.

“They’re like my brothers,” said Rose. “You get used to seeing them for two weeks straight. Hopefully once we get back on the road, we’ll get even closer.”

Besides focusing on his involvement with the USA team, Rose has kept a close eye on the changes in Chicago this offseason, namely the hiring of coach Tom Thibodeau and the addition of Carlos Boozer.

“People say he’s not a people person, but if you let him, he’ll sit there and talk to you for two hours,” said Rose of Thibodeau. “He’s a workaholic. He’s always in the office and you hear nothing but great things about him. I can’t wait to play next year.”

During a few of Rose’s late night sessions at the Berto Center, in which he’ll bring his friends along on occasion, Thibodeau has also been there and comes down to join the practice sessions.

“He’ll watch me workout or shoot the whole time, but coaches can’t watch for too long,” Rose said with a smile. “They’ve got to have input. So he’ll talk to me about our offense or what we’re doing defensively. It tells you a lot about him.”

As for the addition of Boozer, along with Kyle Korver and Ronnie Brewer among others, Rose is as optimistic as ever about the Bulls’ future.

“We’ve got basketball players, man,” Rose said. “I don’t know about everybody else’s team, but my team is ready to fight. We’ve got guys that just want to win. They aren’t about their stats or anything. We’ve got legit winners. The city has been waiting for this year, I’ve been waiting for it, I think that the organization has been waiting for it, and we need it.”

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