- Nick Friedell, Chicago Bulls beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Even Anthony Davis is having a hard time believing that he is about to follow in Derrick Rose's footsteps.
While the Kentucky product made sure to knock down the notion that it was a done deal he was headed to New Orleans as the first pick in the NBA draft later this month, he knows he is almost going to join some rarefied air as far as Chicago prep stars go. If Davis, who went to Perspectives Charter School, is indeed drafted with the first pick he will join Rose as another Chicago star who earned the top honor in the NBA draft.
"I used to watch him play," Davis marveled at Thursday's rookie media session. "He's a monster. We played on the same AAU team. I was watching his highlights the other day. He was a monster. But as far as (being in) the same category (with him) never (did I think I would)."
Like Rose, Davis was coached in college by John Calipari and like Rose, it's clear that Davis takes personal pride in the fact that he is from Chicago.
"Chicago is a great town with great basketball players," Davis said. "I think we all just work hard and we all just love the game. Chicago is one of the main cities known for basketball so as far as the heroes go I know a lot of kids look up to me. I try to always be an inspiration them and a positive role model. I know a lot of guys stand outside of my house, little kids with basketballs, (saying) 'Can I hoop in your backyard?' I know they look up to me and I just try to be a positive role model."
Rookies are impressed with the Bulls: No matter which player was speaking Thursday, it was clear that the Chicago Bulls are a preferred destination among the young players. Here's a sampling of some of the responses from guys who have worked out for the Bulls in the past few weeks.
Doron Lamb, Kentucky: "I had a great time in Chicago. I met the coaches, the whole staff, the GM, I had a great time in my workout. I think I did good shooting and go hard in the drills. I had a great time there ... it would be a nice fit for me. Just going out there, working hard, just playing off Derrick Rose and whatever happens, happens. Just going out there playing hard and just earning my minutes."
Hollis Thompson, Georgetown: "It was a real cool experience ... I think the message was they're looking for somebody who can come in and score and I think I can do that and they told me personally I need to get stronger and work on defending more positions ... I definitely think I would be a good fit in Chicago."
John Jenkins, Vanderbilt: "They said they need a shooter, a guy that can really open up things for D. Rose and open up the offense."
On seeing Rose at the Berto Center: "He was up there rehabbing but I didn't really talk to him, I kind of left him alone."
On working out at the Berto Center: "You see Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, all those names, all the great coaches there and of course all the championship banners. So it's definitely motivation for me. I would love to play for the Bulls."
Andrew Nicholson, St. Bonaventure: "It went pretty well. That was second to last (workout), I think. It was a good workout, a lot of technical stuff we did. I shot it pretty well. It was pretty good."
On his conversations with Bulls' front office execs: "They said I could fit in their system. Pick and roll game, pick and pop game would be excellent ... I think I could fit in pretty well with them, especially with the offense that they run.
Draymond Green, Michigan St.: "I think I had a very good workout and I think I could fit in there. They have a very good team. Of course, everything's built around Derrick Rose so I just want to get in the NBA. It doesn't matter about who I get with. I just want an opportunity to play, prove myself, and win."
No matter whom the Bulls select they will have a chance to compete for minutes early in training camp given the uncertainty of Rose (ACL) and Deng (wrist) heading into the beginning of the year plus the general questions surrounding the rest of the Bulls' roster.
Anthony Davis is another South Side star set to be the top pick.