Simeon coach: Rose NBA's best

January, 20, 2011
1/20/11
9:16
PM CT
Watching Derrick Rose play will never get old to Simeon coach Robert Smith.

Even though Smith no longer has the front-row seat to Rose’s playmaking like he did not too long ago at Simeon, Smith still tunes into every game Rose plays, sits back and marvels at the all things his former star does on the court for the Chicago Bulls.

“It’s exciting for me to see him go out and play the way he’s playing,” said Smith, whose current team is off to a 14-0 start, something Rose’s teams never did. “Right now to me, he’s the best player in the NBA. He has what Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron [James] had. He has that mentality he’s the best player like those guys did when they first got into the league. That’s all over him now.”

Smith witnessed Rose dominate plenty in high school. Simeon beat nationally-ranked No. 1 Oak Hill and was back-to-back Public League and state champions. But the way Rose did it then and how he does it now has changed.

In high school, Rose was the distributor and scored when Simeon needed him to. Now, Smith sees a more aggressive Rose who carries the scoring responsibilities.

“Derrick could have scored 30 points at Simeon if he wanted,” Smith said. “That wasn’t his goal to do. His goal was to win. When you look at the state championship, he took four shots. He could have taken more shots. He wanted to get other guys to score. He understood some of them weren’t going to be playing basketball anymore.

“I’ve been impressed with his jump shot. His jump shot has really improved. It was the one knock on him, and he got in the gym and worked on it. That’s the one thing about him, if you tell him he can’t do something, he’ll surprise you and do it. “

Smith remembers Rose’s Simeon days when he watches Rose play for the Bulls.

“It’s so funny because some of the plays he’s making now he made in high school,” Smith said. “When he’s going between 2-3 people, bumping people, some of the reverse shots, I saw a lot of that when he was here.”
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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