Among the prospects hitting the hardwood inside of the Hearnes Center and Mizzou Arena were a handful of Kansas targets and a few other players of local interest looking to make noise. Perhaps the one player that stood above them all was a 2007 prospect that folks from all over the country have read about, 6-2 ½ PG Derrick Rose
Derrick Rose - If you follow recruiting, you’ve undoubtedly read about this phenom PG from Chicago (IL) Simeon. Even though he’s just a rising junior people have been talking and writing about how good he might be in the future. Some have gone as far as to say that he could be the greatest point guard out of Chicago since Isaiah Thomas, so it is impossible for him to take the court without some very high expectations that a 16 year old shouldn’t have to deal with.
Standing just short of 6-3, Rose has a rare combination of freakish athletic gifts, court sense, scoring ability, confidence and maturity. He’s a gifted ball handler who handles equally well with either hand and uses his yo-yo handle along with his quicks to break defenders down off the dribble and blow by them in either direction. Once he gets to the cup he explodes into the air for thunderous dunks and impossible hanging finishes or he’ll put on the breaks and find a teammate that nobody else saw for an easy basket.
That’s fine, everybody expects a touted PG from Chi-town to get to the hole and finish but Rose is just as likely to bust a three in your eye or kill you with his deadly mid-range game. Before going down with a high ankle sprain -- he’ll be out for 2-4 weeks but is ok -- late in his third game on Saturday afternoon, the kid had kissed home more jumpers off the glass from 12-15 feet in Columbia than most teams have all spring.
The most impressive thing about what Rose does is how easy he makes it look and how he carries himself like a seasoned vet. You won’t see him talking trash or dancing after big buckets, but you will see a look of confidence come across his face whenever a play needs to be made. In reality he could probably stand to take things over a little more often and be a little more selfish but he’s a team guy first and there is still a ton of room left for him to improve.
Naturally every school in the country -- including Kansas -- would like a piece of him and so does seemingly every writer. A humble kid who isn’t looking for extra attention, Rose is being brought along slowly by those closest to him. His family, coaches and teammates are looking out for him and that is going to be a good thing as more and more people start looking for pieces of his time.
Isacc Miles - Earlier this week, the author of this article released his top 100 for the class of 2006 and missing from that list was the 6-2 PG/WG from Mission (KS) Bishop Miege. After tearing up the recent Jayhawk Invitational, Miles took his game to another level in Columbia and it is time to admit that his omission from the list was a mistake. He makes threes, beats defenders off the dribble, plays physical defense and takes care of the ball while putting points on the board.
Miles’ KC Rocktown team is an interesting squad because every other player on the team is a member of the class of 2007 meaning they are basically a 16 U team that plays in the 17 U’s every weekend. They are a talented bunch to be sure, but it is Miles maturity and ability to get them a basket when they need it that really allows them to compete. Folks around Kansas City have been waiting for him to step up and truly lead and now he’s doing it.
One of Missouri’s primary targets in the class of 2006, Miles has recently been hearing from a bit from Leonard Hamilton at Florida State and he’s also been recruited off and on by Kansas. According to him Kansas has been calling again but he isn’t sure of how serious the interest is at this point.
George Goode - It was an up and down weekend for the 6-8 combo forward from Raytown (MO) South. Playing alongside Miles with KC Rocktown, the versatile Goode was dominant at times and almost completely non existent at others. His ability to shoot from the perimeter at his size is a tremendous asset and he becomes a terror when he’s running the court and playing aggressively around the basket. He’s only going to be a junior next year and there is still plenty of room for him to grow as a player, but he’s matured as a person and it isn’t a stretch to consider him one of the top 50 prospects in the class of 2007 at this point in time.
Dominique Johnson - A skinny 5-10 PG from Kansas City (MO) Lincoln Prep, Johnson used to team up with Miles at Bishop Miege and with the Kansas City Keys. Since Miles has moved on, Domo has taken the Keys and made them his team. Over the weekend he did a little more when he led the Keys past Rocktown and everybody else in Columbia as they captured the championship hardware.
He may be little, but he plays the game with a ton of heart and he always makes good decisions. His stop and pop game from 15 feet keeps defenders on their heels and his ability to drive comfortably to the left -- his off hand side -- only makes him tougher to stop. Defensively he’s learned to use his quick hands to cause trouble and he’s a local kid who should draw some long looks on the mid major level this summer.