Is Derrick Rose The Best Ever Out Of Chicago?

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By Roy & Harv Schmidt

We began covering Illinois prep basketball during the mid 1980s. As a result, we did not see Cazzie Russell play, and we were still in high school when Isiah Thomas led St. Joseph to a second place finish in the Class AA state tournament in 1978. We have seen a lot of great players come out of the Chicago Public League over the last 25 years, but none have been better than Simeon's Derrick Rose. If he hadn't proved that previously, he has certainly proven it since his first college game at Memphis.

Before everyone else starts jumping all over this, let us point out that there was never a doubt in our mind that Rose was going to be a great player at both the college and professional level. However, if there was one thing that we may have been guilty of when it comes to Rose it was not having enough overall appreciation for his game--until now.

While Rose was at Simeon, the two biggest knocks on him were that he couldn't shoot and that he wasn't assertive enough, that he didn't look to take over games the way a dominant player and a player of his ability should. At that time those assessments were accurate. And we were not the only ones saying it. Despite all of this, we were also quick to point out that we didn't believe that it was all Rose's doing, and when one now looks at how things have panned out, there is more evidence of that than ever.

Simply put, Simeon head coach Robert Smith runs a system that is not conducive to any one player being a star, no matter how talented he may be. It is kind of similar to when Michael Jordan was at North Carolina and the standard joke was that the only person in the world who could hold Jordan under 20 points a game was Dean Smith. We are not saying that Robert Smith was wrong for the way in which he utlized Rose. After all, Simeon won back to back state championships in Rose's junior and senior years, so who are we to argue with success? The only person who may be kicking himself a bit is ex-Simeon head coach Bob Hambric, who has to wonder what might have been had he decided to play Rose on Simeon's varsity team as a freshman. We are thinking that there is a good possibility that Simeon would have won four consecutive state championships.

The bottom line is that from the first day Rose arrived at Memphis, John Calipari decided to turn Rose loose and give him free reign over his team's offense. As a result, you are now seeing the real Derrick Rose. In Memphis' NCAA tournament victory over Texas in the South regional final in Houston, Rose was unstoppable, as he finished with 21 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds. He totally dominated Texas' D.J. Augustine. Use whatever superlative you like--Rose took Augustine to the cleaners, had him for lunch--you name it, Rose did it. And now for the ultimate praise--Rose even made a couple of plays in that game that were Jordan-like.

The one thing that impresses us above all else with Rose and makes him a truly special player in our eyes is that nothing seems to phase him. He does not get rattled. Even during the time when the criticism was being thrown Rose's way with respect to him not consistently dominating games when he was at Simeon, Rose never let it bother him. He simply went about his business. That is what great players do. Not only that, but with each game that passes by it seems as if we see something extra from Rose that we haven't seen before, in much the same manner as a Jordan or a Kobe Bryant. That is a rare treat, and when it happens we simply want to sit back and enjoy it.

During our 25 plus years of covering high school basketball in Illinois, we have seen plenty of phenoms from the Chicago Public League come and go. We are still on record as saying that the best high school basketball player we have ever seen come through Chicago is Farragut's Kevin Garnett. However, people make a legitimate argument when they say that Garnett is a transplanted Chicagoan, as he transferred to Farragut from Mauldin, SC just prior to his senior year in high school. Therefore, we are most comfortable in saying that when it comes to pure-bred Chicagoans, Rose is the best player that we have seen come out of the Windy City in the last 25 years. He is everything that Jamie Brandon, Ronnie Fields, and Imari Sawyer wish they could have been.

In all likelihood Rose figures to be a one and done player at Memphis and enter the NBA draft this coming June. We believe that he should be the #1 pick in the draft. Unfortunately, knowing what has been the common trend of NBA general managers who have the top draft pick, Rose will probably go either second or third, with the #1 overall pick being a big man. If that happens, we only have one question for whichever general manager ends up in the #1 position. Can you say Sam Bowie?

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23 Comments

I completely agree that Derrick Rose is the best player to come out of Chicago. There are a number of reasons that contribute to him standing as hierarchy in Chicago hoops. One, the most important, reason, is that he just wins. If I am not mistaken he was City Champ in 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th; then he went on the win State in 11th and 12th grade. In your article it mentioned that Coach Smith's system held Derrick in check, so to speak. I disagree. I believe, as we witness Derrick's character and demeanor, he held back for the betterment of his team, but more than that his friends. This kid never wanted to "outshine" his boy, particularly Tim. Don't get me wrong, Tim is good in his own right and on another team, would have demanded 50 touches a game as well. Derrick wanted to make sure that all his boys received their due. He could've shot the ball on every play and that would have been ok at Simeon, but that wasn't his style.

Roy & Harv Respond:

WC,

Great points!! Your comments are further proof of what makes Derrick Rose a special player.

It amazez me that you people who were born in the late 80 and 90's you think every great player comes along is the best to come from chicago. Get real Rose and I love that he is from Chicago and I love the way he plays and how he plays. But to even suggest that he could be the greatest hs player from Chicago is like trying to say Kobe Bryant is Michael Jordan's equal.
I go way back as far as high school basketball goes. Robert Dillard, Dan Davis, Eugene Ford all of Crane.
George Wilson, Richard Bradshaw, Robert Echols from Marshall, Raymond Price, Billy Harris from Dunbar Cazzie Russell, Joe Allen Ken maxey From Carver, How about Charlie Brown, Paxton Lumpkin from DuSable, How about Terry Hurley who avg 40 plus from Stienmetz? Now how about Terry Cummings, Mark Aguirre, Isiah Thomas, Ricky Green I could go on and on and yet saying Rose is the greatest is like saying that Michael Jordan was an average nba player.

Roy & Harv Respond:

Call it a generation gap--call it whatever you want. Go back and reread what we said. We said that Rose is the best we have seen in our 25 plus years of covering high school basketball in Illinois. We know that all of the players you mentioned were great players, but unfortunately we weren't around to see most of them.

Not really significant to the article, but a clarification...
You stated "We are thinking that there is a good possibility (had Rose played varsity as a freshman,)that Simeon would have won four consecutive state championships" Do not forget that Brother Rice and Bob Fraser defeated Simeon WITH Derrick Rose in 2005 (Rose's sophmore year). Whether Rose played varsity his freshman year or not, Simeon still loses that game.

Roy & Harv Respond:

Phil,

We did not forget that Brother Rice won that game--a spectacular sectional final featuring two outstanding coaches. However, you never know how much difference an additional year of varsity seasoning may have made when it comes to a player like Rose.

I THINK A PERFECT STATEMENT FOR MR. ROSE IS THAT HE IS
A WINNER, HE HAS BEEN A WINNER SINCE GRADE SCHOOL.
HE PLAYED FOR A POWERHOUSE HIGH SCHOOL - SIMEON.
WE KNOW HE WASN'T ALLOWED TO PLAY VARSITY AS FROSH,
BECAUSE FORMER LEGEND COACH BOB HAMBRIC DIDN'T BELIEVE
IN PUTTING FRESHMAN ON THE VARSITY.
HE HELPED SIMEON WIN TWO STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS.
AND NOW HE JUST HAS BEEN NAMED 3RD TEAM ALL-AMERICAN FOR MEMPHIS UNIVERSITY.
HE WILL PLAY IN THE FINAL FOUR, AND WILL BE DRAFTED
NO LOWER THAN THE THIRD PICK OF THE NBA DRAFT.
IF MIKE CONLEY WAS DRAFTED FOURTH LAST SEASON, AND
DERRICK ROSE IS BETTER THAN HIM, THAT'S WHY I BELIEVE
WHERE HE WILL BE DRAFTED!
FINALLY I'M GOING TO SAY, I'M GLAD TO SEE AND HEAR HOW
HUMBLE THIS YOUNG MAN IS, BECAUSE AS LONG AS HE STAYS
LIKE HE IS- HE WILL ALWAYS BE SUCCESSFUL.
I AM A RONNIE FIELDS FAN, HE IS CURRENTLY PLAYING IN
MINOT, NORTH DAKOTA FOR THE CBA, HE HAS PLAYED ALL OVER
THE WORLD, BUT HE HAS NEVER PLAYED IN THE NBA.
DERRICK ROSE PLEASE STAY GROUNDED AND CONTINUED SUCCESS
TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, BUT PLEASE WHEN YOU PLAY IN THE
PROS STAY AWAY FROM ANYONE WHO WILL DRAG YOU DOWN!
GOOD LUCK IN THE FINAL FOUR!

Hakeem Olajuwan, not Sam Bowie, was the first player selected in the Jordan draft.
I hope your player observations are better than your use of "facts" to prop up a point of view.
I agree Rose is the best Public Leaguer to play in college in the last 25 years.
Cazzie Russell and Mark Aguirre are the only Public Leaguers who went on to be national players of the year. Russell couldn't play as a freshman. Aguirre could -- and boy, did he.
Rose is going to play at Memphis as many years as Garnett did at Farragut. I bet Memphis will claim Rose, however.

Roy & Harv Respond:

We never said that Sam Bowie was the #1 pick in the NBA draft--show us where we said that. But if memory serves correctly, wasn't Bowie taken at #2 by Portland, and then Jordan at #3? That is our point.

he is so good he would had made Brian Randle all big ten and the Illini would had been elite eight caliber and if Gordon had stuck to his comitment this team would had been finale 4. if only these kids would stay at home , Depaul, U.I U.I.C.

THE MAIN QUESTION I WANT ANSWERED IS, DID BROTHER RICE
MAKE IT DOWNSTATE THAT YEAR? YES OR NO

Roy & Harv Respond:

Yes, Brother Rice made it to Peoria that year, as they went on to defeat Proviso East in a thrilling supersectional game at UIC and then lost to eventual state champion Glenbrook North in the quarterfinals.

I ALSO FORGOT TO SAY THAT AS A YOUNGSTER GROWING UP
BOB FRASOR SR. WAS ONE OF MY HEROES AS WAS MR. CARMEL
AND COACH HOWIE FAGAN, SO IT WAS GOOD TO SEE HOW GOOD
A BALLPLAYER HIS SON BECAME, AND DON'T FORGET HE WILL
PLAY HIS SENIOR SEASON FOR NORTH CAROLINA NEXT SEASON!

Isiah Thomas was ready to play pro ball after his soph year at St Joseph High School. Isiah is without question the best player to come out of Chicago. Just ask Doc Rivers he will tell you. End of story.

Roy & Harv Respond:

We are sure you are not alone in your opinion, but again, Isiah is outside the 25 year time frame that we used with respect to this blog.

Darius Cunningham, Carver, is the greatest high school player to ever come out of Chicago. It is no contest. Check it out. I saw thme all from 1952 on and no one could match the skill of Cunningham.

Good article, Roy & Harv. Looks like some of your readers have reading comprehension problems, based on the comments above.

I think the national media has been awfully late on picking up on Rose's greatness. A few weeks ago, I laughed when an announcer said that Rose just might be the best of all the well-known freshmen guards. JUST MIGHT BE - you think? The only debate for me is whether Rose is the best point guard in the country. And I don't mean in college. I mean playing ball in the U.S., pro or college. Steve Nash couldn't possibly defend him. Rose is too strong for Chris Paul, he's too quick for Deron Williams, and Jason Kidd is getting too old and slowing down. I'll say it - Rose is the WORLD's best point guard. And I'll stand by that statement - and Rose will prove it next year.

IS DERRICK ROSE THE BEST EVER OUT OF CHICAGO?

Not tonight. Kansas 75, Memphis 68 (OT)

Rose played a hesitant 1st half and missed a crucial FT late in the 2nd half.

Sherron Collins stands up for the West Side on national TV.

ROSE IS A GREAT PLAYER BUT TO HONEST NO ONE IN CHICAGO REALLY THOUGHT HE WAS AS GOOD AS HE IS BECAUSE HE'S NOT A BALL HOGGING PLAYER THIS KID JUST WIN BALL GAMES PERIOD HE'S DEFINITLY THE BEST PLAYER TO COME OUT CHICAGO THE LAST 25 YEARS.JUST WAIT ONCE HE REALIZE HOW UTILIZE HIS ABILITY THE BASKETBALL WORLD BETTER LOOK OUT(SORRY ABOUT THE GAME I WAS CHEERING FOR THE WESTSIDE'S VERY OWN SHERRON COLLINS)ANYWAY DERRICK HAS MADE CHICAGO VERY PROUD OF HIM AND I LOVE THE WAY HE REPRESENT THE CITY OF CHICAGO AND THE ENGLEWOOD COMMUINITY I DON'T THINK HE'LL EVER FORGET WHERE HE COME FROM.

Buzz Lightyeatr- Rose is not better than DJ Augustine. Even though Rose statistically had a better game than DJ, Augustine will make a better NBA point guard. Better jumpshot, better handles (did you see how Sherron ripped rose at half court...ok), runs the pick and roll better. DJ's game is very steve nash-ish. Watch....

Roy & Harv Respond:

Blaze,

We will agree to disagree.

last nite rose was acting scary the southside was soppose to win that battle over sharron vs rose i go to simeon and alot of kids are mad rose didnt take over how he wa ssoppose to i feel that rose was still sick from the previous nite

Roy & Harv Respond:

Saprano,

We also think that Derrick was noticeably injured during the overtime period. That is a big reason why he went scoreless during that time. Combine that with the missed free throws and it was the difference in the game.

Rose might be the best of the past 25 years. Go back another 5 years, and you cannot make that statement. Then again, you didn't try to. Too bad you didn't see the guys who came out of the Public League in the late 70s & early 80s (Aguirre, Cummings, Efrem Winters, Jamie Brandon, Russell Cross, J.J. Anderson, Juwan Howard, etc.) And, for my money, Quinn Buckner is the best player Illinois ever produced.

Roy & Harv Respond:

Sonny,

We did see all of the players from the late 70s and early 80s that you mentioned above, and we would take Rose over all of them except Aguirre.

GYM RATS:
Remember the most difficult transition from college to the NBA is the point. (how many fist year players take their team to greatness (magic, isiah, now chris paul, sorry jason kidd you're good but cancer)let ROSE grow, great pros continue to mature each year, this why going to college 4 years develops the player in skill/mentally/physically in every sport. I give ROSE credit he gets it as a point, pass first shoot or take over when needed. remember shaun livingston!=breakdown, lets watch his ability grow each year ie D.WADE!

let me say the best freshmen i saw come out of chicago was teddy grubbs,(better than agurrie) before ray meyer destroyed him, which contributed to the decline of depaul basketball as KING HS boycotted the school.
(Ben Wilson was ahead of his time with height and ability a missed highlight for basketball and Chicago fans) DROSE is the real deal speed and leaping ability is used when needed. studder seps-and floaters, gretzy type passing= SUPERSTAR IN 3/4yrs in the NBA OLD SCHOLL IS COOL AGAIN! KID w/ the rock watch out!

CAN YOU LIST A MOCK DRAFT FOR THE NBA, AND WHERE DO
YOU THINK ROSE, AND GORDON WILL BE DRAFTED?
IS THERE ANY CHANCE THAT ROSE WILL BE THE FIRST PICK
OF THE DRAFT?

Roy & Harv Resond:


Phil,


We can't list a mock draft but we can tell you that there is a strong possibility that Rose will be the first pick in the draft. We believe it will be him or Michael Beasley. Gordon probably goes somewhere in the top 10, although that is just a hunch.

RAY MEYER DIDN'T DESTROY TEDDY GRUBBS!
IF YOU DON'T KNOW THE STORY, ASK SOMEBODY?
WHEN GRUBBS SCORED 32 ON UCLA, I GUESS THE GREAT RAY
MEYER WAS DESTROYING HIM!
ALSO BEN WILSON WASN'T AHEAD OF HIS TIME, HE HAD
A BIG TIME GROWTH SPURT, HE WENT TO RUGGLES ELEMENTARY
AND NO ONE THOUGHT HE WOULD GROW THAT TALL.
DERRICK ROSE DOESN'T NEED 4 YEARS OF COLLEGE, HE IS
READY TO BLOSSOM IN THE NBA.
BY THE WAY MAGIC AND ISIAH ONLY ATTENDED COLLEGE FOR
2 YEARS!

QUINN BUCKNER MAY BE ONE OF THE TOP ATHLETES TO COME
OUT OF ILLINOIS, BUT NOT THE BEST BASKETBALL PLAYER!
HE WILL PROBABLY TELL YOU THAT HIMSELF!

The best Chicago player ever never had the chance to play college or NBA. Those that remember Simeon Ben Wilson was better than Garnett and Rose. He dominated the game. I would compare him to a Dwight Howard type player today. He would have easily been a lottery pick out of high school if high school kids were jumping to NBA during his time. He was the #1 player in the nation and most highly recruited play ever from Chicago. His life was cut short due to sinless street violence and his potential was never realized. He is worthy to be part of this conversion of Chicago best ever.

Roy & Harv Respond:

We agree completely. Ben Wilson is undoubtedly in any team photo when it comes to talking about the all-time greats out of Chicago. We only saw Ben play on two occassions. One was the 1984 state championship. The other was in a summer league contest at Quigley South that following July. We will always remember that evening because prior to that we had never spoken to Ben before. However, upon introducing ourselves to him after he was done playing that night, he spoke to us for a few minutes and treated us as if we had known him for years. All indicative of what a true gentleman and class act he was.

GOOD ARTICLE, GUYS! IT IS A TRUE TESTAMENT TO THE HIGH QUALITY OF BASKETBALL PLAYED IN THE CHICAGOLAND AREA THAT THE QUESTION OF WHO IS THE GREATEST EVER FROM CHICAGO HIGH SCHOOL HOOPS WILL ALWAYS BE A TOPIC OF HEATED DEBATE. AS A HIGH SCHOOLER IN THE 70'S I REMEMBER THINKING THAT I'D PROBABLY NEVER SEE ANYONE AS GOOD AS ISIAH THOMAS, WHO ALSO PLAYED IN THE SAME ERA AS AGUIRRE, CUMMINGS, CROSS, AND MANY OTHERS. THEN I SAW BEN WILSON, WHO WOULD'VE PROBABLY BEEN ONE OF THE GREATS AT THE COLLEGE AND PRO LEVEL HAD HE NOT MET SUCH A TRAGIC END. IF YOU MENTION SONNY PARKER, SOMEONE CAN TALK ABOUT JAMIE BRANDON. FOR EVERY RICKY GREEN OR J.J. ANDERSON,

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This page contains a single entry by Roy & Harv Schmidt published on April 1, 2008 6:23 AM.

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