Rose proving himself with Team USA


Aug 14

The 2010 USA Basketball Men’s National Team’s first taste of international competition—or any competition outside of their own team—came on Saturday afternoon with Derrick Rose and his teammates leaving Madison Square Garden with an dominating victory over China.

The teams participated in a scrimmage, with four 10-minute quarters and a scoreboard that was reset at the end of each frame. The Americans won the first three quarters convincingly, including an impressive 35-8 third frame, before coming up short 17-16 in the final period.

Rose, aiming to make the final roster of 12 players which beginning training in Madrid, Spain on Aug. 17 and compete in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Istanbul, Turkey Aug. 28 to Sept. 12, scored 12 points and dished out two assists in the winning effort. The USA team, which has not won the FIBA World Championship since 1994, will look to take its first real step in doing so when it meets France on Sunday back at the Garden (12 p.m. on ESPN2).

“I’m just trying to put pressure on my opponents and play well,” Rose said following the scrimmage, which opened the doors to a limited audience of about 500 people, including the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, who sat in the first row near the American bench.

Danny Granger led all scorers with 22 points, while Eric Gordon contributed 15 and Kevin Durant chipped in with 14.

For Rose, the experience with the USA team has been different from what he is accustomed to, with more focus on transition play and fewer amounts of possessions, he said.

“We as guards really have to take care of the ball and make sure we don’t make any dumb plays,” said Rose. “We’re also full court pressing all the time. You always have to make sure your man is in front of you so you can pressure and make it difficult for teams to run their sets. It also allows you to take some time off their shot clock.”

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski seconded Rose’s thoughts following the scrimmage.

“We need to play the full court so teams don’t just come down and have an extra six seconds,” he said. “I thought our effort was real good today.”

As for Rose, Krzyzewski likes what he is seeing out of his fellow Chicago native. But he wants to see a little more of that swagger he knows is in the 21-year old point guard.

“He’s been good, especially with his ball pressure,” commented Krzyzewski. “All of these guys sacrifice their egos to be on here, but we don’t want them to lose their egos. When he’s in the game, we want him to have a Bulls ego rather than just trying to fit in. That’s a little bit of a process.

“I can remember talking to Chris Paul and Deron Williams, two pretty good players,” Krzyzewski continued. “They came off the bench [in the 2008 Olympics] and played well, but not playing like they could. We would tell them to use their Hornets and Jazz egos. That’s what we’re trying to help these guys with. Not only do we need to pick a team, but they need to develop into a team.”

As Coach K mentioned, that process is indeed in effect. The group has been together since mid-July except for a two-week break prior to their New York arrival, and Rose said a strong sense of camaraderie is in the works.

“We’re used to playing with each other,” said Rose. “It’s like a brotherhood and we all feel comfortable around our teammates.”

Rose stressed rebounding as the key to the team’s success, an area in which the team has a great deal of room for improvement.

“After we rebound, we can start the break and run,” Rose explained. “That’s our biggest thing. If we rebound and play together, good things are going to happen.”

Krzyzewski echoed those comments and said that in the last week, extra emphasis has been added to rebounding.

“I thought we did alright and we’re attempting to rebound,” said Krzyzewski. “The thing that’s different is that a lot of these guys play on a team where someone else is rebounding.”

As for the final cut, Rose feels good about his chances. The fact that neither Jeff Green or JaVale McGee played Saturday could also be an indicator of two players who won’t be moving forward with the team.

“I think I should make it,” said Rose. “I think I’ve proven myself a little bit, although I still have more work to do. But that’s why I love this game, nothing is given to you.”

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