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News » Bulls' Rose says spotlight has been tough

Bulls' Rose says spotlight has been tough

Bulls' Rose says spotlight has been tough
DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) - NBA rookie of the year Derrick Rose has had a busy offseason.

The NCAA investigated the University of Memphis for academic violations during the one year Rose played at the school. An Internet photo surfaced with him flashing a gang sign. And his backcourt mate with the Bulls, Ben Gordon, has signed a big deal with the Detroit Pistons.

Rose says he's not worried about the situation at Memphis, and he's apologized for the photo. But he'll definitely miss Gordon, the Bulls' leading scorer over the previous four seasons who headed to rival Detroit for a five-year, $50 million-plus contract.

"Ben is a great player, one of the best scorers I ever played with, a great guy. He had to make a business move and went to Detroit," Rose said Thursday at his summer basketball camp. "I'm going to miss him a lot. He took a lot of pressure off me last year."

Pressure seems to be the theme for Rose these days.

In a letter to Memphis, the NCAA said an unknown person took the SAT for a player - with his knowledge - and that the player used it to get admitted. The governing body says the athlete played for the Tigers in the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. Only one person fits that description - Rose.

Rose said he talked about with former Memphis coach John Calipari about the situation.

"I know I didn't do anything wrong," Rose said. "That was up to Memphis, what they had to do. Coach Cal told me not to worry about it. I definitely wasn't worried about it."

Rose apologized earlier for the photo that was taken at a party while he was at Memphis.

"It's been tough. I got to know that was in the past, just being foolish," Rose said. "I'm learning when I'm out in public, I can't really act the way I want to act with my friends, kid around with them. It's like I got to grow up. I'm only 20."

Rose worked out in Los Angeles this summer and participated in a USA Basketball national team minicamp. He said his focus has been on becoming a more consistent player.

The No. 1 overall draft pick in 2008, Rose led all rookies last season with 6.3 assists per game and was second in scoring average at 16.8. His ability to maneuver past defenders and get into the lane with his quickness and strength opened up the outside for shooters like Gordon.

Rose led Simeon Career Academy of Chicago to the state championship and Memphis to 38 wins and the NCAA title game in his lone season there. He helped turn around the Bulls from a team that went 33-49 the previous season to a spot in the playoffs where they nearly upset the Boston Celtics in a dramatic opening-round series that went the distance and featured four overtimes games.

Now Rose sees the Bulls improving, despite the loss of Gordon. One of his biggest emphasis during the offseason, he said, has been to improve his jump shot. With Gordon gone, he might have to take more last-second shots.

The Bulls also drafted forwards James Johnson and Taj Gibson in June.

"We're going to be good. Hopefully the players that come in will be able to get us a little better. We've got to compete when we are out there and not think about the pieces we lost. We got to build," said Rose, who acknowledged he might have to more vocal in his second season.

"You want to get farther each year and get better each year. We just want to make it past the first round and hopefully go to the championship. That's the goal."

Rose has learned plenty after a year as a pro, both on the court and off.

"I'm always in the spotlight. I got to be a leader of the team and I can't do any foolish things anymore," he said.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: August 6, 2009


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