Never once did Derrick Rose disappoint at the Peach Jam last week. In fact, he only got better as the tournament went along. His play was one of the key reasons why Mean Streets Express won the prestigious event in North Augusta, South Carolina over the weekend.
Rose, the No. 3 ranked player in the class of 2007, had the Riverview Park buzzing with his play. A game winning bucket in overtime in a highly anticipated game against Tyreke Evans and Team Final might have been the bucket that got him going.
Rose raised his level of play as each game went on. In the playoffs, the Chicago native averaged 12.7 points and 6.3 assists. Pair him with Eric Gordon, the No. 8 ranked player in the class of 2007, and you have a dangerous tandem.
Rose and Gordon formed a backcourt that will certainly be featured in a future USA Basketball or even a NBA All-Star setting. The 1-2 punch was impossible to contain for the teams at the Peach Jam.
The two have since become close friends since playing against each other in high school and when the opportunity to play together at a national event came along, it was too good to pass up.
"He's real unselfish," Gordon said after his first game playing alongside Rose at the Peach Jam. "I think he's too unselfish. He's a real good ball player. You don't see too many guys quite like him."
What's it like for a team to face Rose and Gordon?
"Scary for the other team," Rose says, "because we are both really quick and he's way stronger than me. On the fast break nobody can stop us."
Rose will finally have his much anticipated match-up with O.J. Mayo at the Reebok Big Time in Las Vegas next week. Rose participated in the Reebok ABCD camp early in the month just to get a chance to play against the nation's top player. That match-up never happened because Rose had a sprained ankle.
"I wanted to play him. That was one of the reasons why I went there was to play against him," Rose said. "All of the stories about him getting hurt was because he was scared to play against him. That isn't true. I wouldn't travel all the way to New York just to sit down and not play."
It's fitting that the first match-up between the two top prep stars will happen in Vegas. The only thing missing from that match-up is Michael Buffer announcing that it is time to "Get ready to rumble."
"It's going to happen in Vegas," Rose said of his match-up against Mayo. "Everybody is watching there."
Everybody includes a host of head coaches. Rose insists he doesn't concern himself too much with recruiting. Despite his public admission that he isn't too concerned with recruiting, people are watching him closely.
"I don't really think about nobody," Rose said. "I don't even think about college right now until the season starts and who changes their offense and stuff like that."
Head coaches followed Rose all week in Augusta. Bruce Weber. Bill Self. Jerry Wainwright. John Calipari. John Brady. They were all there to see Rose play. All of them will certainly be at Simeon High School during the high school season to see more of Rose in his own setting.
Recruiting for Rose won't end tomorrow. In fact, by the sound of it, it won't end before school starts or even the season. Rose is one of those players that schools will wait for.
"I don't really have any pressure on me like some other players in the nation," Rose says. "I talk to a lot of other players and they say they get calls everyday from coaches and reporters and things like that and that it's really hard for them."
In the meantime, he has a match-up with Mayo to get ready for.