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March 1, 2014


GROWING UP

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errick Martell Rose was born on October 4, 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. (Click here for a complete listing of today’s sports birthdays.) He was the youngest of four boys. Older siblings Dwayne, Reggie and Allan were all huge Bulls fans and talented players. Derrick followed their lead. The Rose boys challenged their youngest brother on the court. They made him practice dribbling, passing and shooting with both hands. Derrick had another great role model in his early hero, Michael Jordan. As Derrick’s hoops aptitude became obvious and his path to the pros more likely, his mother Rose instructed her boys to protect and nurture their brother. Reggie became the coach of Derrick’s AAU team, the Mean Street Express. In addition to Derrick, the Express had another future NBA player in Eric Gordon. When Derrick was ready for high school, he enrolled at Simeon Career Academy, a South Side vocational school with a good basketball program. He probably had the skills to play on the varsity, but coach Bob Hambric had a policy against it, so Derrick spent the 2003–04 season playing JV. He led the team to the city championship. Toward the end of the year, Coach Hambric (who was in his final year) offered Derrick a spot on the varsity but he declined—not wanting to steal the thunder from the upper classmen.

Derrick joined the varsity the following season under new coach Robert Smith. He scored 22 points in his first game for the Wolverines before a sold-out gym that included more than a dozen major college scouts. Derrick averaged just under


GROWING UP 20 points as a sophomore, along with 8.3 assists and 2.4 steals. Simeon went 30–5 and made it to the state regionals.

that Illinois had the inside track. Others suspected that Indiana might land him. In the end, the Rose family decided the best bet was Mamphis, where John Calipari was the coach and former NBA star Rod Strickland was an assistant. To remove any drama from his senior year, Derrick committed to the Tigers before his final varsity season started.

In 2005–06, the Wolverines won the city’s public school championship. The final was played in the United Center. Derrick scored 25 and brought the crowd to its feet with several dunks. In the state tournament, Simeon defeated Richwoods High in At Memphis, Derrick teamed with shooting overtime to win the championship. Derrick stole guard Chris Douglas-Roberts. The junior was a the ball and hit the winning consistent 20-point scorer 14.9 points, 4.7 assists and jumper with less than five who was ticketed for the 4.5 rebounds per game seconds on the clock. NBA. They worked their and was in the running for both the magic flawlessly for more Wooden and Cousy Awards. The pair of titles put Derrick than three months. and his teammates in the spotlight in 2006–07. They were invited to play The Tigers started the season 26–0, which gave Rice High School in Madison Square Garden, the team its first #1 ranking since the 1980s. They where they lost 53–51. The game featured a much finished 33–1, as Douglas-Roberts was named a anticpated matchup between Derrick and Kemba First-Team All-American and Derrick garnered Walker. Third-Team honors for his solid freshman performance. He averaged 14.9 points, 4.7 assists Derrick also went head-to-head with Brandon and 4.5 rebounds per game—and was in the Jennings in a game against Oak Hill Academy. running for both the Wooden and Cousy Awards. Derrick scored 28 in the contest, which was televised by ESPN. The Wolverines won 78–75. During the NCAA Tournament, Derrick ramped up his game, particularly on the defensive end. Back in Illinois, Simeon defended its city and state The Tigers were given the top seed in the South titles, becoming the first Chicago high school to Region, but they were still slight underdogs against win back-to-back state championships. The team Michigan State in the Sweet 16 and Texas in the ended the year with a 33–2 record and was ranked Elite 8. Memphis trashed both opponents. Against among the top prep squads in the nation. the Spartans, Derrick led the Tigers to a rousing Derrick led the Wolverines with 25.2 30-point halftime lead and finished with a gamepoints and 9.1 assists per game. He high 27 points. Against Texas, Derrick distributed also averaged 8.8 rebounds and the ball brilliantly and dogged D.J. Augustin for 3.4 steals. 40 minutes, limiting him to just 16 points. He was named the Region’s Most Outstanding Player following the Tigers’ 85–67 win.

ON THE RISE

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ollege recruiters h a d been hounding Derrick for years. His brothers did their best to filter the offers and help him narrow his choices. Many believed

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Back in the Final Four for the first time since 1985, Memphis celebrated by beating UCLA to earn a spot in the national championship game. Derrick and Douglas-Roberts seized control of the contest, combining for 53 points. Derrick was good for 25 and once again demonstrated his defensive prowess, this time against the Bruins’ lightning-quick Darren Collison. Against Kansas in the title game, the Tigers had a chance to nail down a win in regulation. In fact, they led by nine points with under three minutes left. Derrick had another superb game, but he


ON THE RISE missed key free throws down the stretch, which allowed the Jayhawks to force overtime. Shooting from the charity stripe was the team’s one Achilles heel all season, and this time it came back to haunt the Tigers. Up by three with a few seconds left, Memphis didn’t foul, and Mario Chalmers nailed the game-tying 3-pointer. In overtime, Kansas scored the first six points and held on to win 75– 68. Derrick finished with 17 points, dished out a game-high eight assists and was named to the AllFinal Four Team.

violation. The Tigers’ runner-up status in the 2008 championship was later vacated. There was little drama to the draft. The Bulls owned the first pick, and everyone knew they were going for the hometown kid. Derrick joined a team loaded with young talent, including Luol Deng, Ben Gordon, Joakim Noah and Tyrus Thomas. He opened the season strong, and then went through a mid-season lull. But he finished the way he started, winning Rookie of the Month for the third time that March. Trade-deadline additions of veteran Brad Miller and high-scoring John Salmons helped the Bulls snag the seven seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Derrick played in all but one game, averaging 16.8 points and 6.3 assists. He became the first Bull since Elton Brand to win NBA Rookie of the Year. In the opening round of the playoffs, Chicago faced Bston and its Big Three of Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett. Derrick was the headliner in the opening game, torching the Celtics for 36 points. In doing so he tied a record set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most points by a rookie in his playoff debut. Derrick added 11 assists for good measure. The Bulls took the contest 105–103 in overtime on Boston’s home floor. The series provided one thrilling moment after another, as the precocious Bulls pushed the Celtics to seven games. In the end, Chicago could not overcome so much Hall of Fame talent. Derrick averaged just under 20 points for the series, and at times he seemed unstoppable. What he could not accomplish with ability he seemed to do with sheer determination.

After his amazing tournament run, Derrick declared that he intended to leave Memphis for the NBA draft. Around this time, allegations surfaced that he and two of his Simeon teammates had irregularities in their grades and SAT scores. Memphis had been aware of these rumors and hiredfour investigators to question Derrick. They could find no evidence of wrongdoing, and the In 2009–10, Derrick was picked for his first Allschool cleared him to play. Star Game. It was another milestone for the Chicago native—the last Bull to appear in the Unfortunately, NCAA detectives were contest had been Jordan, in 1998. unconvinced. Ultimately, they concluded that Derrick had at least one grade, a D, changed Despite Derrick’s efforts, the Bulls were still for no reason, and that someone else may have finding themselves, losing as often as they won. taken the SAT test for him. In addition, his Still, they managed to squeak into the playoffs. brother Reggie had traveled with the Memphis Derrick’s second season included six games squad on the taxpayers’ dime, which was a clear in which he reached double-figures in assists

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ON THE RISE

and seven 30-point mihgts. He had his finest performance in the second-to-last game of the year, with the Bulls’ record at a precarious 39– 41. Derrick scored 39, added seven assists and rejected three shots in a victory over the Celtics.

twice—in a home win over the Sacramento Kings and a road loss to the Indiana Pacers. The extra attention he was drawing created great passing opportunities, and he regularly reached doublefigures in assists—including 17 against the Bucks in Milwaukee.

This time in the playoffs, the Bulls met LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Chicago In February, Derrick started his first All-Star Game, scoring 11 in a loss to the had no answer for the King, although Western Conference. He finished Derrick enjoyed a fine series. He ranked in the regular season averaging an scored between better than 20 the Top 10 in several even 25 points and 7.7 assists points in each of the five games per game. He ranked in the and dished out 36 assists. categories, including Top 10 in several categories, minutes played, including minutes played, field As the 2010–11 season goals, 3-pointers, free throws, began, many experts tabbed field goals, 3-pointers, free assists and points. 22-year-old Derrick as an throws, assists and MVP candidate. It wasn’t much of a stretch based on his early The Bulls headed into the playoffs points. as the East’s top seed with a 62–20 performance. He was moving at a new speed that made defenders look as record—along with great confidence and if they were playing a different game. Time and experience. Carlos Boozer, signed as a free agent, again, Derrick would slash into a forest of big teamed with Noah to give Chicago a solid presence men only to emerge at the rim for a dunk, scoop in the paint. Veteran Kyle Korver supported the forward line off the bench, while Keith Bogans, or bank shot. He was absolutely fearless. Ronnie Brewer and TJ Watson filled the guard A concsistent 20-point scorer, Derrick hit for 42 slot beside Derrick.

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ROSE THE PLAYER This time the Bulls moved through the first round with ease. They defeated the Pacers in five games, with Derrick establishing a new postseason high in the series opener with 39 points. The Atlanta Hawks put up a better fight, taking the opener in Chicago and tying the series 2–2 a week later. In the final two games, Derrick had 42 points and 22 assists. The Bulls won both by double-figure margins to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

As a playmaker, Derrick understands as well as any young player that his job is to create opportunities for teammates. There is no standing around and watching him, as there was when Jordan was a young star with the Bulls. If you get open, you will touch the basketball if Derrick is on the point.

Defensively, Derrick has good hands and anticipation. He is also an effective shot-blocker when the opportunity arises. At 22, he was just Once again, a familar foe stood in their way. Only a shade behind the top defensive guards in the this time James had Dwyane Wade and Chris league—Kobe, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo—and he Bosh as running mates. The Miami Heat were should be a regular on the All-Defensive team in expected to overwhelm the Bulls, but Chicago the coming years. exposed a chink in the armor by winning Game 1. From there, however, Miami was too much, Derrick loves having the ball in his hands with sweeping the remaining four games in impressive the game on the line. He’s a natural leader who fashion. Derrick topped 20 points in each contest, doesn’t have to score to be effective on the floor. but he seemed to be running on fumes at times. In Given his pedigree, it seems only a matter of time Game 4, he had seven turnovers. before Derrick celebrates an NBA championship After the season, Derrick was named to the AllNBA First Team along with James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard. When the Most Valuable Player votes were tallied, Derrick was the big winner. finishing ahead of Howard for the Podoloff Trophy. At 22, he became the NBA’s youngest MVP. With a core of talented young players, the Bulls will look to supplant the Heat as Eastern Conference champions. That effort begins—and most likely ends—with the skill and leadership of their reigning superstar. Chicago fans are fine with that. They’ve been down this road before, and the outcome was a good one. Derrick couldn’t be more focused on excited for the opportunity.

DERRICK ROSE THE PLAYER

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n three NBA seasons, Derrick has developed a full arsenal of offensive weapons. He attacks the rim with gravity-defying ease, but he can also stop-and-pop mid-range jumpers and hit 3-pointers. His leaping ability makes him equally effective on either end of an alley-oop. The more pressure on Derrick to score, the better he is at creating and making shots. On many of his drives, he leaves defenders scratching their heads.

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INJURY

Derrick Rose Injury Update: Return For Chicago Bulls Star A Possibility In 2014?

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ast season, Derrick Rose would not rule out a return to the court following his torn ACL. This year, though, the Chicago Bulls star seems prepared to watch his team from the sidelines.

different movements, like lateral slides, but still nowhere near ready to practice. “He’s out for the season,’’ Thibodeau said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “I don’t know what else you guys want...and again, I think that’s a step-by-step thing. He’s doing great; he’s out for the season. Nothing has changed there.’’ Chicago will almost assuredly make the playoffs. Through 57 games, they are the No.4 seed in the Eastern Conference. Despite their injuries, the Bulls might be expected to reach the second round, considering they could have home-court Vadvantage in their first series. However, the Indiana Pacers or Miami Heat would be heavy favorites in the conference semifinals.

It has been assumed for months that Rose will miss the rest of the 2013-2014 NBA season, having undergone knee surgery in late November to repair his torn meniscus. At first, the point Rose might be done for the season, but guard was reluctant to close the door the Sun-Times reports that he is ahead on a return in the playoffs, but now he Playing of schedule. If he continues on this has all but guaranteed that he won’t suit up any time soon. for that team pace, Rose plans to play for USA Basketball in July.

helped the year

“I’m not keeping it open,” Rose I won MVP, just “Yeah, for sure,” said Rose. “If my said at a charity event two weeks leg is feeling healthy and I’m there, getting in a ago. “I just said that right now I’m all in. Of course, I want to play for I haven’t thought about it. I can’t groove that team. Playing for that team helped think about it right now when I’m not the year I won MVP, just getting in a running yet. When I get off the Alter-G, groove. So I’m excited if I am able to play in it.’’ that’s when I can say if I’m coming back or not [this year].” This is the third straight year in which Rose an Rose is finally off the Alter-G, an anti-gravity injury has hampered Rose. In last three years, he’s treadmill, and running on her own. Head coach played just 49 total games. Tom Thibodeau says his star player is doing

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Trading Option

Westbrook coming to Chicago?

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n an odd twist of serendipity, Chicago’s fans and front office will be given the opportunity to take an ephemeral glimpse into their crystal balls to see what the future may have in store for them when Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook attempts to come back from his own Rose-like injury against the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Like Rose, Westbrook tore the meniscus in his right knee; however, unlike Rose, Westbrook has had to go under the knife three separate times since last April to try and correct the problem. Yet, it is Westbrook who has played 25 games this season and is attempting to return, while Rose has been fighting to get back into uniform for the better part of two years. Not only is Westbrook returning from a similar knee injury, but he and Rose are ostensibly the same player. Both are 25-year-old shoot-first point guards who rely on their quickness and explosive leaping ability to make plays at the rim. Even their stat lines are eerily identical. For his career, Rose is averaging 21 points, seven assists and four rebounds per game, while Westbrook has averaged 20 points, seven assists and five rebounds per game. As mirrored images of each other, the limitations and hurdles Westbrook faces in his return will likely be very similar to what will be laid out before Rose on his journey back to the hardwood. How Westbrook is able to cut, jump and push himself on Thursday will be of the utmost importance to Chicago’s attempt at quickly turning around their fate to become contenders again in 20142015.

signs of ill-effect -- or appears to be back to the Westbrook of old -- expectations for Rose will begin to grow exponentially, and questions of why he isn’t back yet will only get louder. Rose is a salary-cap killer right now. The $34.03 million Rose has earned for doing nothing but modeling suits on the sideline has been a tough pill to swallow, but chewing up roughly 30 percent of the Bulls’ salary cap for the next three seasons will be even harder to stomach if the former MVP is relegated to a $20 million per season jump shooter when he returns.

Make no mistake about it, the Thunder vs. Heat But Westbrook’s return could just as easily have matchup on Thursday night may tell fans more a negative effect on Rose. Much the same way about the Bulls’ future than any game they will Adrian Peterson’s miraculous return to the NFL see at the United Center the rest of the year. in 2012 has caused every knee rehab since to Expect everyone in Chicago to keep a close eye of be looked at through a more optimistic lens, if Westbrook’s progress until the final bell sounds the Thunder’s point guard returns and show no on the NBA’s 2013-2014 season.

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CHICAGO BULLS

2008–PRESENT


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