Derrick Rose, a 6'-2" guard, is the next Chicago legend to come from the rich state of Illinois and could be the missing piece to keeping the Illini in the nation's elite status. Rose is listed in the class of 2007, and is currently ranked as the second best point guard in the class.
Illinois has secured a verbal commitment from a 6'-4" athletic guard from Indiana. Eric Gordon appears to be solid with his commitment even though the Hoosiers will have a new leader on the sidelines next year. For the past five to seven years, Illinois has had great leaders in the backcourt which is why they have been on top of the Big Ten and ranked in the top 10 the past few seasons.
Last year, Illinois lost out with Chicago guard Sherron Collins to Kansas, which broke the hearts of many Illini fans. This year, Rose becomes more important. Why? He, along with Gordon, could (and I say could loosely!) be one of the best backcourts to suit up. Not only at Illinois, but in the Big Ten. Both Rose and Gordon are athletic, run the floor well, possess high basketball IQ, and appear to flourish under a coach that allows players to showcase their skills.
This is what Scout.com has to say about Rose: "This one of the true point guards in the class. Has size and athleticism and he'll hammer it down. At the same time, he runs a team, passes at a high level and is tough to rattle. Has a huge reputation in Chi-Town and guys love playing with him."
Because of recent history with Collins going to KU, most have already accepted the fact that Rose may end up elsewhere and the Illini may miss out. Rose certainly understands how important college is and knows that Gordon will be in Champaign, along with other key ingredients.
To understand the game of recruiting, you must be loyal to your state athletes. Sometimes it may cost you the kid you want in the end, but great coaches are able to find the key ingredients to keep their program in elite status.