The No. 2 ranked player in the class of 2007 Derrick Rose is in his first year of varsity basketball, but the 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard has led his Simeon High School team to a 16-3 record and a No. 5 ranking in the city of Chicago. Simeon will try to avenge one of those losses tonight when the square off against Chicago's No. 3 ranked Julian High School, which is led by Wyoming bound Brandon Ewing.
"Derrick is playing up and down," said Simeon head coach Robert Smith. "I knew it would be a big adjustment going to varsity. Plus, he gets double and triple teamed."
Although the young but magnificently talented Rose has not dominated on a consistent bases, he has been very good, averaging 21 points and 8 assists per game. Facing extremely high expectations the moment he hit the court this year, Rose has demonstrated more than once this year that he is an elite prospect with the capability of controlling a game.
"In certain situations, he takes over games, whether it be with his scoring, passing or defending the other team's best player," said Smith. "Sometimes, however, he's too unselfish. He has to understand that in certain situations, he needs to take over games."
Along with his exceptional athleticism and high skill level, Rose also has a point guard mentality and work ethic to lead a team and continue to get better himself.
"Derrick has a high basketball IQ and a tremendous work ethic," said Smith. "He practices hard everyday. He is also a good student and works hard in class."
Rivals.com caught Rose in action this past summer at the Nike Hoop Jamboree as well as on the AAU circuit. As athletic as anyone on the circuit, Rose has no real weakness to his game. He is both a strong defender and rebounder. Offensively, he is strong with the ball while maintaining excellent court vision. Capable of blending into the team system as well as standing out at will, Rose not only ran his team but hit three-pointers in bunches, both off the dribble and off the pass.
It was Rose's jump shot that Coach Smith was concerned about going into the season.
"The thing I thought he needed to work on was his shot, but it has been very good this year," said Smith. "He just needs to get a little stronger and continue to learn the game."
Attempting to avenge a 65-64 loss to Julian earlier this year, Rose will take another step in the development of his game tonight.