Before he'd even played a single minute of high school ball, L.J. Rose was making waves. During the spring of 2008, the then 8th grader took over the controls of the mighty Houston Hoops summer program as their point guard on the 17 and under level. Showing skill and ability far beyond his years, Rose did an admiral job in hanging in against players 3, 4 and sometimes five years older than him. Now a sophomore, the 6-foot-3 point guard at Houston (TX) Second Baptist has emerged as one of the elite point guard prospects in his class.
As impressive as he is on the floor, he's only getting better.
"I think since my freshman year I've gotten stronger and quicker," said Rose. "I've been more of a vocal leader, I'm really trying to work on that. My defense, it's gotten better but I still need to work on that."
Last summer, Rose was able to take his game international. One of just 12 players selected to make USA Basketball's 16 and under team, he helped the squad to a gold medal in their age group. The experience hasn't been lost on him.
"It was great, it humbled me a bit too," said Rose of playing for USA Basketball. "It showed that all great players can come together on one great team and produce and play together. Then they can still be able to go back and do what they do regularly on their high school and AAU Teams."
A solid ball handler who has outstanding floor vision thanks to his size and heads up style of play, Rose also shoots the ball extremely well. He navigates the pick and roll with the expertise of a college senior and credits his success to hard work.
"I would say being a leader and seeing the floor are my strengths. I can pass the ball and I feel like I can shoot it a little bit too," said Rose of his game. "It's both natural and I work on it a lot. I work out with John Lucas in the summer. All we do is pick and roll stuff, John really works on teaching us the reads and stuff about how important it is."
According to Rose, he already has offers in hand from programs like Texas, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Arizona, LSU, Memphis, "most of the Big 12" and he's also begun to spark interest from ACC powers like Duke and North Carolina.
"I have an offer from Kansas," Rose told Phog.Net. "It's cool, but I'm going to take my time with it. I'm enjoying it. You only have schools like that recruit you once and I want to find out all about it."
For now, Rose is focusing on his sophomore year and trying to win a state title. Comfortable with the recruiting process, he's watching those that recruit him and wide open to schools who want to show interest. When the time does come to decide, though, playing style is going to be important.
"The way they play, the style is important," said Rose while noting that he prefers a system that is heavy on pick and roll. "The area a school is in and the players that are going to be there is important too."