Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Chicago Tribune Article on Derrick Rose, Simeon High School
Rose, Simeon sparkle in spotlight
By Bob Sakamoto
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 19, 2007
Every once in a while, a game comes along that transcends the usual boundaries of high school basketball.
It happened four years ago when LeBron James became a national phenomenon and had two of his games televised by ESPN2 on his way to becoming the NBA's top draft choice.
Thursday night at the UIC Pavilion was another one of those special moments when Simeon upset Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the nation's No. 1 team, 78-75 in front of a partisan crowd of 3,070.
It was the first high school basketball game televised nationally by the main ESPN network.
"It feels great," said Simeon standout Derrick Rose who just missed a triple-double with 28 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. "Before the game I was thinking I wanted to make history. LeBron, Greg Oden, none of them had played on ESPN.
"We came out strong because of my teammates, who believed in me. I wanted to attack early and then get them involved. Guys like Kenyon Smith (nine points), Daniel Green (11 points), Kevin Johnson (18 points, 10 rebounds), Tim Flowers (10 points, 10 rebounds) stepped it up."
Former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, now a vice-president of a Los Angeles media company, flew in to see the game.
"I've got to see Derrick Rose every chance I get," Armstrong said. "He is the best high school guard I have ever seen and has a chance to be something really special. He has all the ingredients to be a Hall-of-Famer. We'll see how it plays out."
Playing inspired ball, Simeon shot to a 40-30 halftime lead. Rose consistently beat Duke-bound Nolan Smith off the dribble to set up Daniel Green for three-pointers and setting up Johnson for layups.
The 6-foot-6-inch Johnson soared to the offensive backboard, outleaping Oak Hill's pair of 6-9 forwards, Howard Thompkins and Florida State signee Julian Vaughn. With Oak Hill defenders swarming toward Rose, Johnson made a living off weak-side putbacks.
"After losing to Rice in New York (on Sunday), it was a real downfall," Rose said. "Now we've got the momentum."
Simeon (13-2) led 68-54 when Oak Hill's Southern California recruit Brandon Jennings (19 points) scored 16 points in 2 minutes, 40 seconds. But Rose hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Oak Hill (22-1), which was led by Michigan-bound Alex Legion's 23 points.
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