Derrick Rose – Memphis

Point Guard

Before I break down Derrick Rose, I need to give you a Chi-Town basketball history lesson first. In 1984 there was this kid that went to Simeon High School on the south side of Chicago that was really, really good. At 6’8″ and 180 pounds he was a finesse player with a sweet “J” that could also post up, rebound and pass. He led Simeon to the state championship his junior year and the following summer he was invited to attend the prestigious Nike All-American basketball camp. When he left Chicago he was unranked, but when he got back he was named the top prep prospect in the country, the first player from Chicago to ever hold that distinction. He was also reportedly on his way to play at the University of Illinois after he graduated. 

Unless you’re a hoop junkie or live outside of Chicago, chances are  you’ve probably never heard of Ben Wilson…or what happened to him. On November 20, 1984 he was shot outside of Simeon the day before the first game of his senior season. He died the following day; he was only 17 years old. In his honor, the top spot in the ’84-’85 high school player rankings was left blank. The school renamed its gymnasium after him and retired his number “25” jersey. Five years later the jersey was brought out of retirement and given to the best player on the basketball team that year; it’s been a part of Simeon tradition ever since.

Although he wears “23” at Memphis now, Derrick Rose wore “25” at Simeon And just like “Benji” (as he is known around Chicago), he led Simeon to the state championship as a junior; and probably like Benji would have done, he led them to the state championship his senior season as well. I say all that to say this, Derrick Rose is a pretty big deal in Chicago. We haven’t had a “home grown” basketball product this good – and from the same high school no less – with so much hype surrounding him since 1984. And just like now as it was back then…the hype is real. 

Strengths: Derrick Rose is 6’3″ of blazing speed and quickness. You can try and stay in front of him if you want, but you’ll just end up guarding his breeze! He can get to the basket anytime he wants and can finish with the best of them. He’s a mature, pass first team first, “We Not Me” point guard that knows how to play the position and loves to set up his teammates for easy baskets. He can dominate a basketball game without scoring a lot of points but if the situation calls for it, he can and will take over a game. He’s the closest thing to Jason Kidd that I’ve seen in terms of not only size but also the way he plays the game. His numbers in his first season of college basketball aren’t jaw dropping (14.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.2 steals, 47% from the field, 68% from the line and 35% from deep) but with Rose you have to look beyond the numbers. He’s the reason that Memphis is 35-1 and a contender to win a National Championship this year.

Weaknesses: He needs to get stronger to be able to fight through screens at the next level. He’s also going to need to increase the range on his jump shot. 

Grade: A+

Suggestion: Take the Cash

Summary: If Memphis wins the championship, Derrick Rose is probably going to declare for the draft. But even if they don’t win and he still decides to come out, he’s almost certain to go #2 behind Beasley. Theoretically speaking, depending on which team gets the first pick – if that team is in need of true PG – he could very well be the #1 pick in the draft this year. Benji would’ve been proud.

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