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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Chicago Sun Times on Derrick Rose's Visit to Illinois

Illini fans give Rose a hero's welcome

October 28, 2006
BY CLYDE TRAVIS Special to the Chicago Sun-Times

CHAMPAIGN -- While there was a lot of excitement surrounding the Illinois Blue and Orange game, there was more excitement generated by the visit of Simeon point guard Derrick Rose to Assembly Hall. After the scrimmage, Rose, the top-rated point guard in the country, announced he would hold a news conference next Saturday to reveal his college choice. The finalists are Memphis, Indiana and Illinois.

Rose's Simeon teammates, Kevin Johnson and Tim Flowers, also are expected to announce their college choices.

Rose had originally stated that Illinois was not one of his top five choices, but changed his mind on Wednesday.

Rose was obviously impressed by the reception that he received from the 12,000 spectators that showed the ''homeboy'' much love.

''I'm glad I decided to come. It was the right thing for me to do,'' Rose said.

Rose made the trip with his brother Reggie and Simeon guard Deon Butler and was joined by Simeon coaches Fred McClinton and Marcus Alderson.

''As I said before, this is a very serious decision in Derrick's life,'' Reggie Rose said. ''We originally thought we were going to leave after the game, but we have decided to stay one more day.''
Rose will watch the Illinois team practice today.

''We have seen some things on this visit and feel more comfortable and welcomed than last year when we made the trip,'' Reggie Rose said.

During several portions of the game, the crowd chanted ''We want Derrick,'' ''Come to our school'' and ''Put Derrick in.'' The crowd also shouted chants for Reggie Rose.

After the game, Derrick Rose got big hugs from two former Chicago Public League players currently with the Illini: Calvin Brock of Simeon and Marcus Arnold of Morgan Park.

Also on hand were former Illini greats Kenny Battle (a close friend of Reggie Rose) and Bryant Notree, a former Simeon guard who was a high school All-American in 1994. Notree played three years at Illinois and finished at Illinois-Chicago.

''Illinois was made for a player like Derrick,'' Notree said. ''He is home-grown, he has talent, appeal and a game to match. Plus the opportunities are second to none when you play for your state school.''

Derrick Rose, who sat back and took it all in, seemed to be quite pleased with the reception.

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