Derrick Rose has played a total of 10 games over the past two seasons, but that doesn’t mean he’s not a shoo-in to make Team USA. According to national team head coach Mike Krzyzewksi, Rose is “better than four years ago.”
Though there’s been just one training camp practice so far, Rose has clearly made an impression on Krzyzewski, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes.
“I was ecstatic about watching him today,” Krzyzewski said. “He’s better than four years ago. Four years ago, he was 21, and he was just on the verge of becoming who he was going to be. But he had a great practice today. You don’t practice like this [every day]. He hasn’t been in practices like this. Now [we’ll] watch what he does for the next few days.”
Sports Illustrated’s Ben Golliver has more on Rose’s first public appearance since last November. Clearly, the former MVP doesn’t lack for confidence.
Kicking off his latest comeback attempt in style, Derrick Rose threw down dunks, tossed in three-pointers and whipped no-look passes at the UNLV practice court on Monday, before shifting into a captivating media session that saw mix funny one-liners with reflections on his recent knee injuries. His performance during and after USA Basketball’s first day of training camp was an assault on the senses, as his athletic flashes brought the memories flooding back while his wide-ranging and clearly-elucidated thoughts projected a fresh serenity…
“My confidence is crazy,” Rose told reporters, stating that he was fully healthy, that he trusted his legs, and that he simply needed to work on his conditioning. “I know how hard I worked. I believe I’m one of the hardest workers in the league. I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. I dedicated my whole summer for this moment. … [I spent] every day working my a– off. Torturing my body every single day. My wind is the last thing I need. I played probably a total of nine minutes [in Monday’s scrimmages]. I work out three or four hours a day [so] that ain’t s—.”
Rose certainly looked his old self in a pair videos offered by the NBA, showing off his trademark blend of power and body control with athletic finishes.
Rose is doing and saying everything to make you believe he’s regained his superstar form, but it’s imperative to remember that he basically hasn’t played competitive basketball in over two years. He can indeed be fully healthy, more athletic than ever, and “better than four years ago,” yet still take time to adjust to the speed of the NBA game in 2014-2015. That type of rust was evident in Rose’s brief comeback last season before re-injuring his knee.
That’s why the FIBA World Cup represents such a golden opportunity for Rose. Training, practicing, and scrimmaging can properly simulate just a fraction of meaningful competition. Rose seems a lock for Team USA given Coach K’s comments, and his role on a squad loaded with All-Stars will afford him ample opportunity to regain in-game comfort before the season begins in late October.
Resuming responsibilities like Rose’s for Chicago after missing so much court-time will still prove difficult, but less so after he’s had the chance to recalibrate his game with Team USA. And if wholesale takeaways from his first practice with the national team are any indication, Rose will surely re-emerge as one of the league’s best players this season. The only question now is how long it will take him to do so.
Is Rose a lock for Team USA?
Follow Jack on Twitter at @ArmstrongWinter.
Follow Dime on Twitter at @DimeMag.
Become a fan of Dime Magazine on Facebook HERE.