DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Derrick Rose sounds like a proud older brother when he talks about Jabari Parker. The Chicago Bulls' superstar has said repeatedly over the last couple of years how much he enjoys watching his fellow Simeon High alumnus play and that pride has grown even more as Rose watches Parker shine at Duke University this season.
"I'm watching him, man," Rose said after Tuesday's practice. "He's doing what he's supposed to do. I'm just happy that he's taking shots and putting the team on his back, and I'm happy for him. I think it's going to help him in the league. He's not the type of player where he wants to shoot a lot of shots, but on that team he has to. So when he gets to the league it's going to help him out a lot."
How much pride would Rose take in seeing Parker become the No. 1 pick?
"I'm happy for him now just seeing him," Rose said. "He was a little chubby, fat little kid when I was in high school playing with us, and now he's potentially going to be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. So I'm happy for him and his family for making him stay on that path and himself for becoming the player that he is and the person that he is. Great things are just going to keep coming his way."
Thibs happy to see Yao again: Tom Thibodeau coached Yao Ming for a few seasons while serving as an assistant on Jeff Van Gundy's staff in Houston from 2003-07 and has always been impressed by the way the gentle giant carries himself. Thibodeau was happy to see Yao at the United Center for Monday night's game and even more excited that he got to take his former center out to dinner after it was over.
"He's a really special guy," Thibodeau said. "And he's really at peace, because he was ... at an MVP level.
“I think his first year he was averaging 12 points a game. And each year, they weren't huge jumps. But it was steady improvement to … where he was up to 27 points a game at one point and he was really dominating.
"And I think the fact that he knows he put everything he had into every day. The commitment that he made to improve ... there was a lot of pressure on him. Being the No. 1 pick, coming over from China, he handled everything beautifully. And it's the type of person that he is that makes him so special, and I'm glad to see he's doing so well."
Thibodeau is convinced Yao will eventually end up in the Hall of Fame, despite his career being cut short due to injuries.
"I think he's real comfortable with his career," Thibodeau said. "Obviously, the injury part shortened it some. But he still accomplished a great deal and he had a great career. To me, he's a Hall of Fame player."
What's next: The Bulls fly to Colorado in the morning and will practice in the afternoon. The trip to Denver is usually the only time all season Thibodeau will fly to another city early, in this case to get his team acclimated to the high altitude.
The last word: Rose, on the fact that Thibodeau actually appeared to smile during Monday's postgame press conference.
"That's rare. That's very rare. Save that footage. It's rare."