Team USA finalists include Derrick Rose
By Seth Gruen For Sun-Times Media January 16, 2012 10:16PM
“I’m not sure anyone has come as far and as fast as Derrick Rose," said USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo, sitting with Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf. "He literally dominates games. As I watch him play, he seems to be able to get to any point on the f
Updated: February 18, 2012 8:14AM
On a day when Derrick Rose sat out a second game with a lingering toe injury, the Bulls point guard received a bit of good news.
Rose was named one of 20 finalists Monday for the 2012 U.S. basketball team. The 12-man roster needs to be finalized by June 18.
The group of 20 players is most notably deep at point guard and includes the Clippers’ Chauncey Billups and Chris Paul, the Thunder’s Russell Westbrook and the Nets’ Deron Williams.
Rose’s ability to play both guard positions could weigh heavily into consideration when the final roster is formed.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski said that players who typically play point guard with their NBA team saw time on the floor together for the 2010 squad that won the FIBA world championship in Istanbul, Turkey.
“There seems to be a load of outstanding point guards in the NBA today and including some very young ones,” USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said.
“But I’m not sure anyone has come as far and as fast as Derrick Rose. He literally dominates games. As I watch him play, he seems to be able to get to any point on the floor at any time he wishes to.”
Rose was the starting point guard on the 2010 U.S. squad and averaged 7.2 points and 3.2 assists. Ten of the 20 finalists were members of the 2010 team. Eight were Olympic gold medalists in 2008.
‘‘It’s an honor to be on that list,’’ Rose said. ‘‘If it was up to me, I would definitely play in it, but Coach K and the coaching staff has to pick the players. Hopefully, you’ll see me playing with that team. If not, I’ll definitely be training hard in the offseason.’’
The summer of 2010, when Rose’s ability to run a team noticeably improved, was a forerunner to winning the MVP award last season.
“He’s just a marvelous player to coach because he’s a sponge and such a team player. That whole summer he wanted to learn,” Krzyzewski said. “He did a great job for us and then it helped him going into the next year. “Derrick pays his dues. He’s an incredible athlete and an incredible guy.”
The original list of finalists was supposed be 18 players, but Colangelo decided to expand the list to 20, taking into account NBA free agency and potential injuries.
Williams, Paul, Billups and Magic center Dwight Howard are the members of the 20-man roster who are set to become unrestricted free agents this summer. Players can sign on July 8.
The first practice of training camp is likely to be July 6, according to Colangelo.