Bob Gibbons of All-Star Sports and Van Coleman of Hoopmasters, who have been evaluating high school basketball talent for 30 years, know a good thing when they see it. And they agree that Derrick Rose is one of the best point guards in the history of the game.
Based on his freshman performance, Gibbons and Coleman rank the former Simeon star in a class with--are you ready for this?--Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Chris Paul and Jason Kidd. And you can toss in Allen Iverson is you want to.
"Rose has more explosive athleticism than Paul and more offensive ability than Kidd," Gibbons said. "And he is stronger physically and every bit as quick as Isiah Thomas.
"He ranks with the truly elite players at that position that I have seen since 1978. It is remarkable what he has accomplished as a freshman. There is no way that Memphis gets to the Final Four without him.
"What is unique about him is he seems to have no fear. His confidence level is high but his ego isn't. He has all the qualifications to be an outstanding floor leader for an NBA team. It speaks volumes for a kid with one year of experience in college."
Coleman said he will reserve judgment on comparisons with such Hall of Fame players as Robertson, Johnson and Thomas until Rose arrives in the NBA. "We didn't see him long enough in college," he said.
"But he lifted a team of great athletes and turned them into a great team. If he has a fault, he doesn't keep the ball in his hands long enough. But, as a freshman, he is in a class with those people, equal to or better."
Will Rose continue to improve and develop at the next level? He certainly was better as a senior at Simeon than he was as a junior. And he was even better as a freshman at Memphis. Who knows how much better he can get?
"If you're looking ahead 10 to 12 years to build around a point guard who will help your team to become an NBA championship contender, he's the guy," Coleman said. "He has an edge in quickness. When you put the whole package together, he is ahead of the others."