The last time USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski coached Derrick Rose, the Bulls point guard started for Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Less than a year later Rose was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player, leading the Bulls to 62 regular-season wins and a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals, falling to the eventual NBA-champion Miami Heat.
And for that reason, Krzyzewski told Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears in an exclusive interview that he's excited about having the 25-year-old point guard competing for a spot on the USA roster for the 2014 FIBA World Championship.
Here's an excerpt from Spears' interview (you can find the complete interview here) on Coach K's comments about Rose's prospects in the Team USA camp, which begins today in Las Vegas:
Yahoo: What are you expecting from Derrick Rose in his return from knee injury?
Krzyzewski: "He was our starting guard in 2010. I met with him a little bit yesterday. I know he's excited about being here. Physically, he's good. It's just a matter of how quickly you regain the instincts to compete and play at this level."
Yahoo: Does Rose have any restrictions?
Krzyzewski: "No. No. None at all. Again, he hasn't played against this competition [in a while]. We have to watch that. But no. He says he's ready to go. I haven't seen him play. These next few days I will see the new guys, see Derrick. We put in part of our foundation for this system, but we have to give them the opportunity to play. The Select Team gives us an opportunity to compete and play more than just practice against each other."
Yahoo: So Rose is here truly competing for a World Cup spot?
Krzyzewski: "He's here to be here. We'll see how everything goes. I'm excited about having him. He's very excited about being here."
There are a few interesting tidbits to note in Krzyzewski's comments. First, it's excellent news for the Bulls that Rose won't have any restrictions. This was largely assumed -- if Rose weren't ready he wouldn't have accepted the tryout -- but it's still encouraging that Krzyzewski has been told by Rose that he won't be playing with any limitations. It'll be Rose's first real competition since he tore his meniscus last November, ending his season after just 10 games.
The second note is that Rose won't have anything given to him. Again, that's no real surprise given the level of talent at point guard but it gives Rose something to shoot for this summer. As Bulls Insider Aggrey Sam noted yesterday, Rose's competition consists of younger All-Stars John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard (Stephen Curry is as close to a lock as there is on the team). And though Rose is at a disadvantage having sat out for a second straight NBA season, his competitive drive and international experience should help him.
In 2010, Rose averaged 7.2 points on 46 percent shooting, a team-best 3.2 assists and 12 steals in nine games. He played the most minutes (208) among any player not named Kevin Durant (254) and brought home gold that summer, something Krzyzewski won't forget. Having Tom Thibodeau as an assistant won't hurt, either, and Rose will also be playing against teammate Doug McDermott, a member of the Select Team (Jimmy Butler was scratched Sunday with a slight groin strain).