By S.C. Zuba
For the Chicago Bulls, the 12-year drought is over.
For the first time since Michael Jordan in 1998, the Bulls have a player headed to the All-Star game, and that player is none other than Derrick Rose.
“Mike, he’s a legend in Chicago and the NBA,” Rose said last week in a press conference. “For me to have an opportunity to be an All-Star right behind him, it feels good.”
Rose, the second-year player out of Memphis, will be making his first appearance at the All-Star game. Last season, Rose was in attendance at the All-Star game, and he won the 2009 NBA Skills Challenge.
It appears as though Rose has avoided the “sophomore slump” after winning the NBA Rookie of the Year award in 2009.
Rose is averaging 19.7 points per game, along with 5.9 assists per game. Statistics aside, Rose has begun to step up as a leader on his team while demonstrating his ability to take over games—as a point guard should.
“That’s just from my teammates,” Rose said. “They believe in me, and I believe in them. It’s a trust thing. They give me confidence on the court. If I come down and shoot and they’re off, they’re not mad at me. Our thing is winning, no matter who’s shooting.”
Head coach Vinny Del Negro believes this is the beginning of great things to come from his young point guard.
“This is not a one-time All-Star for Derrick,” Del Negro said. “I expect him to continually evolve his game in all aspects. I know how hard he has worked and how coachable he is. He’s about the right stuff.
“We feed off the ability Derrick has to create in the open court. That’s what great players do. They get their statistics, they find ways to help their team win, and they incorporate everybody in that. It’s a unique skill to have,” Del Negro added.
It seems as though Rose is well on his way to achieving greatness, and if he continues to mature and progress, he will become the new face of the franchise.
From the Feb. 3-9, 2010 issue.