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Rose excited to take United Center floor
By Adam Fluck | 08.15.2014
After weeks of training and scrimmaging with USA Basketball, Derrick Rose and his teammates are finally set to face some international competition.
And while Rose is eager to do just that, it’s all the more special for him because Saturday’s exhibition game will be played at the United Center in Chicago.
“It’s very exciting,” said Rose following Friday’s training session. “Tomorrow is the start of a new journey and it starts pretty quick. We know it’s an exhibition game but we still have to go out there and take it as seriously as possible and go over our game plan. We know that we’ve got to play as a team and share the ball. With me being on the floor, no turnovers and get the big guys open shots.
“It’s big for me but if anything, it’s big for the city,” added Rose. “Just going to a [USA Basketball event on Thursday] and seeing how many people showed up and showed love to the pro-am game, Chicago needs that right now. I think there’s a big buzz about tomorrow’s game in the city and we need it. We need all the positivity we can get right now.”
The significance of Rose being back in his hometown is not lost on another Chicago native, USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski. Coach K has consistently praised Rose for his efforts on and off the court, and on Friday he admitted that seeing how well he’s performed has been a pleasant surprise.
“I didn’t realize that he’d be able to play at the level that he’s been playing,” said Krzyzewski of Rose. “I think he’s outstanding. He’s one of the best guys in the whole world. He’s so easy to coach and wants to please.
“It’s very neat to see how excited about being here in his first game back playing in the United Center,” continued Coach K. “As a Chicagoan, I’m ecstatic about him and what Tom [Thibodeau] has done for the Bulls. They’re keepers, I’ll tell you that. They’re good people.”
As for Saturday’s game, Rose wasn’t even sure if he was starting or not as lineups had not yet been discussed. But he stressed that he’s fine with whatever role the coaches ask him to fulfill.
“Not at all,” Rose said when asked if it mattered whether he started or came off the bench. “As long as I step on the floor and get some minutes and be able to keep knocking this rust off, I’m fine.”
What Rose hopes to accomplish above all is a team-oriented goal. But he also acknowledged that he’ll likely come up with some personal goals between now and Saturday’s tip off.
“First, it’s to win, I’ll say that,” said Rose. “Mentally I have to keep my mind clear, go out, play hard and just see what will happen. I don’t have any goals right now that I want to achieve during the game but I know when I think about it overnight I’ll probably have some. Right now, it’s just get the victory and try to play hard.”
As for Brazil, it boasts plenty of NBA talent such as Leandro Barbosa, Nene, Tiago Splitter and Anderson Varejao.
Rose and a talented group of USA guards, including Stephen Curry and James Harden, will try to pick up the pace and run the floor, he said.
“We have to pressure the ball and make them speed up the game,” Rose said of facing Brazil. “They have bigs that are experienced with big bodies. As the guards, we have to come in and help our big men rebound so we can push it and try to get easy baskets.”
After Chicago, Rose and USA Basketball head to New York City, where they’ll play a pair of exhibition games against the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico next week.
The team and its final roster of 12 will then travel to Gran Canaria, Spain for a final exhibition game versus Slovenia on Aug. 26.
The FIBA Basketball World Cup will take place in a variety of venues in Spain beginning on Aug. 30. The final will take place on Sept. 14 in Madrid.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) August 15, 2014