How would you describe your play in this tournament so far?
Is that a priority every game?
Yeah. Get my teammates in the game, as long as they've got my back I should be straight.
Do you see yourself as the floor leader, running the team?
Yes, I really am comfortable being the floor leader because my two wing guards hit their shots. As long as they hit shots I'm straight. The team is all right.
Is it safe to call you a pass-first point guard?
Yes. I'm never selfish.
What is your current height and weight?
I'm like 6-2, 208.
Have you been in the weight room a lot?
No, not really. I'm going to get in it this summer.
What have you done to get ready for the AAU circuit?
[Work on my] jump shot. I've been training, going into the gym shooting a lot of jump shots -- up to 500 jump shots.
What is the rest of your summer schedule?
I don't really look at it, but we are going to South Carolina, Las Vegas, King James Tournament, two tournaments in Chicago, and I think Kingwood.
You lost last night and won this morning. Do you know how that affects where you play next?
Not really. We just came here to play. We lost yesterday so I think that puts us in the Silver [Tournament]. We came here to play and showcase our talents so that all of our players can go to school.
What happened in the game last night that you lost?
We came out sluggish and not hitting our shots, and we should have taken better care of the ball. I blame myself because I'm the leader out there.
You take the blame for the fact that you didn't hold the lead?
Yes, I take it on myself.
What could you have done any better?
Held the ball, run a little bit of passing game, taken some time off the clock.
Is there anyone you model yourself after?
I like LeBron's game really. He's a pass-first kind of guy, plus a role model in the NBA.
(Rose brother, Reggie, who is also the coach of Mean Streets Express, requested that all recruiting questions be directed to him ...)
What did your team do today to turn things around as opposed to last night?
When it comes to our team and adversity, they step up big time. I teach my team during the summer if we win by 20 or if we lose by 20, let's just enjoy ourselves and have a good time.
A lot of people look at our team and see young kids. When they look on the sidelines and see a young coach, sometimes it's a shock and stuff like that.
People talk about 'Generation X' -- they are a different style of players, a different breed. Sometimes you have to keep up with these kids to understand what is going on out here. If you don't, you will get lost in the mix
Derrick seems like a modest kid and was taking responsibility for the loss last night. Is that just his way of taking it upon himself when it really wasn't his fault?
When you have kids of that talent -- not just him -- they always beat themselves up over a loss. They think back, 'D---, I made that bad pass, I could have taken that charge, I should have hit those free throws.' They beat themselves up on the inside.
He's not a real outspoken kid. He's really down-to-earth. He was raised -- it was just four boys. He has three older brothers. We all played on the collegiate level. The biggest thing that we do for him is we took his recruiting away from him. [The people recruiting him] have to talk to me, my oldest brother Dwayne, or another brother named Allen. They have to talk to us.
So coaches call you? You tell them to give you a call?
Give us a call if they need to talk to Derrick. Then we can contact them. My mother went through it three times, and all those phone calls to the house can be a headache. There are boxes of letters. We just basically took that away from him.
This year, in the city of Chicago, we won the city championship and the state. The only thing he had to worry about was basketball and not [worry] about which school is in the stands watching him. We really wouldn't even have anybody come in there watching. We just had the high school kids at the high school, stuff like that.
Did you tell the colleges not to bother coming to the gym in high school. Is that why you are saying they didn't come? Did you tell them, 'Don't even worry, you'll see him'?
I can't stop a college coach from coming out. They are more than welcome to come, but right now the recruiting process is just dead. You can call and talk to me and everything like that, but as for coming in and wanting to call every night, even during an open period, we just had it shut off completely dead.
Some people called us absolute -- you know -- for doing it, but nowadays in Chicago there are so many street agents and guys who want to undercut you. It's just ridiculous there.
Coaches can't call yet. How much mail have you received?
Every day I probably get almost 19 letters a day. Some of the kids, like the Eric Gordon kid, who were highly recruited [committed]. He saw how once they [committed], people move on to the next one. The biggest reason his family -- and his AAU family -- don't want him to [commit] this AAU season is that we will be cheating the rest of our kids.
If [coaches] come to watch him they may see a big fellow like Tim Flowers and say, 'Maybe he can't play at my program but I have a friend at another program that can get a kid like this.' I'm just trying to teach these kids good, clean, hard-nosed basketball.
Since his recruitment is closed now, how will you proceed with Derrick's recruitment? When does it start to develop?
Once the season opens, we will open his recruitment full-fledged. Every Sunday we will sit down. We are going to take 10 schools, narrow it down to seven, five, to three. Then the last three, we will have a press conference and he will announce his school.
Will that be in the fall of this year?
It will be maybe around August.
Just once you go through the whole summer?
I'm going to do things different. He's so unselfish, that's why other kids love him. We will start that. It was just four boys and my Mom. We had to share with everything. We didn't have much, but we shared.
With the press conference what I want to do is to have all the kids to sign [on the same day]. I may get six kids to sign Division-I scholarships. At the press conference--I don't care [what college]--I want to line the kids up on a table and have them stand up, say their name and what college they are going to just to show people that there are a lot of positive things coming out of AAU basketball.
Everybody thinks in AAU basketball that people get paid under the table. Then they look at the Nike people, the Reebok people, and the Adidas people -- they think somebody is getting paid some type of way. The only people getting paid are the parents [of the players]. The parents get paid because the kids are on the court with a free ride to school. They didn't get paid cash money, but that is money they get to keep in their pocket.
And that is your job to facilitate that?
Is Derrick at 10 schools now? Will you start at 10?
We will start at 10. We will sit down as a family.
Are you at 10 now?
I can name 10. There are more than 10 schools that want him. What we will do is list 10 and he will write down what 10 schools he likes.
What kind of contact have you had from the North Carolina staff? Have they called and talked to you?
Yeah, I talked to Roy [Williams].
How recently was that?
I talked to him, it had to be about maybe four or five ... the last open period. I also met an assistant coach, I forgot his name.
Holladay, Robinson, McGrath?
McGrath. McGrath came to Chicago, but at the time they were searching for a big.
So do you tell a coach like that, 'We can't do much now, but once the summer gets started, we will open up the recruitment'?
You never burn a bridge. I don't care if an NAIA school calls and say they would really like to have Derrick or something like that. I just tell them that his recruiting process is shut down, but if he has any questions or anything he wants to run by me he is more than welcome to call me.