Little rest for Rose as training camp commences


Sep 28

Upon Derrick Rose’s return from Turkey, in which the USA National Men’s Team won gold at the FIBA World Championship, he decided to reward himself with some time off. Well, sort of, as Rose only enjoyed one day of down time.

Rose simply couldn’t stay away from the gym. On just his second night back in Chicago, he was back in action taking jump shots when his phone rang. It was his agent, B.J. Armstrong, who had a feeling he was on the court and sure enough, he was right.

“I don’t know how he found out, but he just told me to get some rest and take a couple of days off,” laughed Rose.

As two-a-day sessions at training camp commence on Tuesday, though, there is little concern that Rose’s non-stop summer will be an issue. Youth is on his side—he turns a mere 22 years of age Oct. 4—and he’s already a proven he doesn’t know anything less than full speed when it comes to basketball.

If Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has any plans to temper Rose during the preseason, he didn’t indicate that on Monday.

“We’re going to ask him to do everything everyone else is doing,” said Thibodeau. “He’s done a terrific job all summer long. His preparation with Team USA was invaluable to him. The past couple weeks, he’s been able to get some rest. I think he’s ready to go.”

Rose’s experience with the Men’s National Team has made his hunger for winning as strong as ever. At the Bulls’ media day, he pointed out that winning at the Worlds was his first championship since his Simeon squad won back-to-back titles in high school. He hopes that the experience he acquired overseas will translate to greater success in the NBA.

“I think I’ve seen what it takes to go out there, win games, and what you have to have to win a championship,” said Rose. “The guys were dedicated and working hard every day. Some guys would shoot right after practice or go in early. Just seeing how focused you have to be to get that far.”

Another area in which Rose benefitted from this summer was on the defensive end of the court. Given Thibodeau’s well-known emphasis on defense, listening to his star player talk about his responsibility as a defender must have been music to his ears.

“Defensively, I think I can be a hassle on the court,” said Rose. “I’ll try to disrupt the point guard because that’s who runs the team. If you can do that, it messes up their offense and what they’re doing.”

In an offseason which saw elite free agents switch teams in unprecedented fashion, players are regularly asked about LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. But Derrick Rose isn’t worried about what could have been in Chicago. He’s more than content with his team as he prepares for his third professional season.

“With this team, I think we’re good,” Rose said. “I don’t think we need any more pieces. We have good guys who are dedicated to the game and came from winning programs. They’re all about basketball and they don’t care about stats. They just want to win games.”

One of those players is Carlos Boozer, whom the Bulls quickly signed to a five-year deal after James, Wade and Bosh made their intentions public. Having a prototypical power forward on the blocks will certainly help Rose, said Coach Thibodeau.

“His versatility is a great asset,” said Thibodeau of Boozer. “It starts with his post up game and the thing that often gets overlooked is his ability to pass out of the post. He’s a terrific passer. When the ball goes in and we cut, those are other opportunities to get easy baskets.

“When you put him in a play with Derrick, it’s very difficult to guard because you’re going to have to commit two people to the ball,” Thibodeau continued. “Whenever you get two people on the ball, it opens the floor up for the rest of the guys. I think it’s a play in which we’ll put a lot of pressure on our opponents’ defense.”

Just as Rose’s expectations for his team are elevated, he also has bigger and better things in mind for himself. His resume includes winning NBA Rookie of the Year and becoming the first Bulls All-Star since Michael Jordan in 1998, and he’s just getting started.

“Why can’t I be the MVP of the league?” asked Rose. “Why can’t I be the best player in the league? I don’t see why [not]. Why can’t I do that? I think I work hard. I think I dedicate myself to the game and sacrifice a lot of things at a young age, and I know if I continue to do good, what I can get out of it.”

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