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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Derrick Rose Arrives on Campus

Touted Tiger PG arrives on campus
Classes, basketball duties keeping Rose on the go

By Dan Wolken, Memphis Commercial Appeal
June 12, 2007

Derrick Rose had been in Memphis for roughly 24 hours, and he still hadn't picked up a basketball. But he had unpacked his suitcase, decorated his new room and, most importantly, gone to his first class.

Indeed, Rose, the phenom point guard from Chicago, officially became a college student at the University of Memphis on Monday. He got his books. He received his ID. He took a physical. He went to two classes and even got homework assignments.

"It was really tight," Rose said. "Something new. Made me feel like I was a grownup."

Though Rose is already a grownup in the basketball world -- it's possible he'd be a top-five pick in this year's NBA Draft if not for the league's age minimum -- he's been through plenty of new experiences in the past two days alone.

One of them was a 7 a.m. weightlifting session at the Finch Center. Though Rose is a naturally stout 6-foot-4, spending time with director of performance enhancement Richard Hogans will be a big part of his summer preparation.

"He struggled a little bit," coach John Calipari said, laughing. "He's never lifted weights before. Can you believe that, with his body?"

After that, Rose went to classes in communications and gender in society. As much publicity as Rose has received over the past year, it's no surprise his classmates recognized him.

"I came in and people were looking at me. I guess they knew who I am," Rose said. "I'm kind of used to it."

Rose said he's also used to being away from home, especially with all the traveling he's done on the AAU circuit last summer and playing in high school all-star games this spring.

Then again, he hasn't had much time to get homesick. After arriving by plane on Sunday, Rose went straight to Wal-Mart to buy some necessities like bed linens before moving into the basketball team's on-campus house.

"I love it here," Rose said. "As soon as I get homesick, I'll probably call my mother or my girlfriend or somebody who can make me feel good."

As Rose's college education begins this week, so does his basketball education. With most of the Tiger players in town for the first session of summer school, Rose said he was looking forward to the pick-up games at Finch Center where he'll get a chance to mesh with teammates.

"I'm a quick learner," Rose said. "Hopefully it will only take a couple practices for me to be in the flow. I want to work on my all-around game -- mentally, my passing, dribbling, shooting, everything."

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

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