Yes, I'm the guy who wrote that Derrick Rose was overrated.
That was back in 2006, when Rose was a junior at Simeon.
I don't regret what I wrote at the time. I still stand by it.
As a senior, however, Rose changed my mind for me.
As a junior, Rose was rated among the top five players in the nation, a class that included O.J. Mayo, Blake Griffin, Michael Beasley, Kevin Love, Kyle Singler, James Harden and Eric Gordon.
So I argued, quite rightly I thought at the time, that if Rose is to be rated among the best in that elite group, he must be a dominant player. Not a passive performer who is limited to nine points in a state championship game in which his heavily favored team needed an overtime period to survive against a much less talented opponent by a slim 31-29 margin.
I know, Rose took the game in his hands at the very end, driving the length of the floor and scoring the game-winning basket. But wait a minute. Why did it have to come to that? Think about it. If Peoria Richwoods had won, it would have been one of the most embarrassing defeats in the history of the state tournament.
I think Rose learned a lesson. He hasn't taken a passive step since. His aggressive style and leadership qualities as a freshman at Memphis propelled him to the No. 1 selection in the NBA draft and status as one of the two leading rookies in the league this season, already the face of the Chicago Bulls franchise.
So it's time to consider Rose's rightful spot among the greatest players in state high school history. Does he belong on the first team? Is he truly one of the five best players of all-time in Illinois?
A few years ago, I surveyed nearly 100 coaches, former players, sportswriters and sportscasters who have been involved with high school basketball in Illinois since the 1940s. I asked them: Who is the best player you have ever seen?
Isiah Thomas was the leading vote-getter. Then Kevin Garnett, Quinn Buckner, Cazzie Russell, Jay Shidler and George Wilson.
Also mentioned were Mark Aguirre, Dike Eddleman, Bobby Joe Mason, Darius Miles, Sergio McClain, Marcus Liberty, Jon Scheyer, Shaun Livingston, Tim Hardaway and Max Hooper.
Peoria Manual's Dick Van Scyoc, who was the winningest coach in state history when he retired, said Buckner was the best player he saw in 45 years. For those who don't remember the 6-8 Wilson, a three-time all-stater in 1958-60, he was described as "a Scottie Pippin but not as quick."
You either loved Garnett or you described him as a "carpetbagger" who transferred from South Carolina and played only his senior year at Farragut. That fact notwithstanding, at 6-11, the future NBA lottery pick was arguably the single greatest talent of all.
So what is your starting five? Who do you drop to make room for Rose? Or don't you think Rose has earned that spot yet? Whether we agree or not, what a player does beyond high school has a bearing on the evaluations.
My picks? Thomas, Russell, Buckner, Wilson and Rose. With an asterisk on Garnett as the best sixth man you ever saw.