Duke Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will also coach Team USA in the 2012 Olympic Games this summer in London, spoke on how big the loss of Derrick Rose will be to the team during the Team USA media Summit Monday afternoon.
"He helped win a world championship in Istanbul. He's our starting point guard," said Coach K, as he's more commonly referred. "I thought he grew a lot from that experience. He's somebody in the future I know will be a point guard for the Olympic team."
Jerry Colangelo, who is USA Basketball chairman, echoed Coach K's sentiments and pointed to Rose as a success story of the Team USA "Select" program, which brings in younger players to compete against the veterans with the hope that those younger guys will someday assume veteran roles on Team USA.
"That's part of our pipeline and here's the results of that team and what happened," said Colangelo.
"Derrick Rose, after winning the world championship, became MVP. Kevin Durant was the leading scorer in the league. [Russell] Westbrook and Durant and [Kevin] Love made the All-Star team. Tyson Chandler had a career year, and on and on. They were ready foe their NBA seasons and had outstanding years. So it's a sad thing for Derrick."
The injury to Rose was seen as sad and unfortunate by many, especially for those who fully expected the 23 year old Bulls point guard to not only lead Chicago to an NBA Championship season, but also help Team USA win a gold medal and emerge as a star during the competition. With international experience already under his belt, Rose was ready to lead the charge.
"If I make the team, for me to represent the country, it would be great,” said Rose prior to going down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “It would be an honor just to be on that team. They're great guys. Hopefully, I learn something from them, learn some leadership skills. But, that's if I make the team.”
Rose was speaking in his usual, modest way. But there's no question he would've made Team USA. And from Derrick's point of view, he would've been playing for not only his country, but also for the Englewood neighborhood that he's from.
“I know it means a lot; giving kids hope, man. There are people [in Englewood] that think you can't get to where I am right now but I'm an example that you can. I'm proof that you can.”