The gym at Crete-Monee High School was filled with students, parents, teachers, administrators watching the boys basketball team take on Rich Central on a recent Tuesday night in February. Their team, dressed in white and blue, was fast, athletic and dominating Rich Central fairly easily. Nothing to get excited about, right? Wrong. About midway through the second quarter, senior shooting guard Dwayne Rose Jr. caught a pass on the right side at the top of the key and exploded into the lane unlike any high school basketball player I have watched over the past three decades. As young Rose jumped remarkably high and dunked the basketball with such force, it immediately brought the crowd to its collective feet, applauding at the spectacle of a tremendously talented young man exhibiting his incredible skill.
Dwayne Rose Jr is more than just a name from a famous basketball family in the Chicago area. He's a really talented basketball player. And as the game went on, I got to watch Rose make quick accurate passes, show a great ability to handle the basketball, jump extremely high to block the shots of much taller opponents, and take jump shots where he rose up really high and exhibited a beautiful stroke that resulted in nice soft shot and nothing but net. When I saw Rose do this a few times, while surrounded by defenders, I immediately thought of Simeon's Jabari Parker, whom I had watched exhibit that same calm ability to shoot a jumpshot with defenders in his face. To stay that calm in the midst of frenetic activity while shooting, is a very special skill that very few high school players can claim. It takes focus, mental toughness and the experience that comes with playing hundreds of games.
At that point, I was so happy I had the opportunity to see Rose, who has not received a great deal of attention, other than mentions that he is Derrick Rose's nephew. There is plenty of baggage that comes with that level of notoriety, most certainly vocal fans of the opposing team to be sure. It doesn't seem to fluster Rose, but motivates him, another asset in his favor.
No question, he has gotten the right guidance on all of it. His father Dwayne Rose Sr, who was a standout player at Hubbard High School in the 1990s, works with his son and it's very obvious that he has done a remarkable job developing young Dwayne's talents. It's always fun to see those parents and players who work together to develop off the court, connect while the player is on the court, as long as it doesn't inhibit what the coach is trying to accomplish. In this case, it didn't. At different points of the game, Dwayne Jr would look up at his dad. Having been a parent in that position myself, and coached a top-ranked AAU team for several years in Georgia, I can tell you that young Dwayne is lucky to have a father who can pass along his knowledge and develop his skills.
There were a few parents over my 17 years of coaching, who had no basketball experience or background, but despite that, would yell out misguided instructions which not only impeded their son's play, but really harmed the team concept and offense I had called for. One parent in particular became infamous to AAU coaches because he would yell out to his son every time he caught the ball to "drive!" "Spin Drew, drive!" Every single time. And his son, listening to his father, would do it. I cut his son the next year. And he was a great athlete. Then I heard from the parents and coach that took Drew onto their AAU team complain about the misery this obsessive controlling parent was bringing to their entire team. This is the most extreme case that I have ever witnessed, but it is why I appreciate when a parent, like Dwayne Rose Sr, or others who played the game and work with their kids, know how to fit into the boundaries of a team concept while still helping their son. It's a clear line not to be crossed. And the real indicator is the player's attitude toward sharing the ball. Having attended his playoff game against Homewood-Flossmoor, I can tell you that Dwayne Jr is an unselfish player, almost to a fault. For a coach though, it is recognized and immediately signals that this kid is a team player.
In the second half of the Homewood-Flossmoor game, with his team behind, I got to watch young Rose lead his team in a comeback, exploding to the basket several times and dunking, pulling up for beautiful jumpshots and scoring, even though he was double-teamed. So many times, he brought the Crete-Monee faithful to their feet applauding wildly. He plays on a team of very talented and athletic players. Junior Josh Evans is fast, athletic and tough. Junior Malik Hardmon is not as tall as many centers, but can out-jump pretty much everyone to block shots and score on offensive rebounds. Senior point guard Carrington Bass runs point and shoots from the outside. He had 11 of the team's 14 first quarter points against HF. Junior Tyrese Hunt and sophomore Marquis Kennedy are young, dynamic players who play on both sides of the ball and contribute mightily. Crete-Monee has a host of great young players on their roster, which bodes well for the team's future.
Unfortunately this year, the team fell just a bit short to a highly talented and well-coached Homewood-Flossmoor team, which ended a very successful high school career for Dwayne Rose. I believe he has a really good chance to develop into a special player in college. He chose the University of Toledo, which is a great choice, given that I watched another terrific talent from Chicago, Steve Taylor, get the opportunity to play up to his potential under head coach Tod Kowalczyk. Taylor, who played in the backcourt with Jabari Parker on Simeon State Championship teams, is having a really big year averaging 12.5 rebounds and 15.6 points per game. As any experienced athlete will tell you, so often a chance for success is based on playing for the right coach, one who can recognize and appreciate your talent. When young Rose gets to Toledo, he will have the opportunity to work hard and try to win a spot in the rotation. It's a big step up in college, regardless of the sport, but I'm optimistic with his talent, he will succeed.
Filed under: Chicago Bulls, Crete-Monee High School, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Rose Jr., Dwayne Rose Sr, Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Steve Taylor Jr., Tod Kowalczyk, Uncategorized, University of Toledo Rockets
Tags: Chicago Bulls, college basketball, Crete-Monee High School, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Rose, Dwayne Rose Sr, Homewood-Flossmoor High School, New York Knicks, Simeon High School, Simeon Wolverines, Steve Taylor Jr., Tod Kowalczyk, University of Toledo