Rose Ready To Bloom Bigger In NBA

By Josh Herwitt - April 15, 2008


John Calipari couldn't have gotten everything he wanted on Tuesday.

But despite learning that his standout freshman point guard Derrick Rose will be headed to the NBA next season, the eighth-year Memphis coach is looking at a nice contract extension with the school.

Rose, though, will certainly be missed by Calipari and the national runner-up Tigers.

The 6-foot-3 native of Chicago, after all, averaged 20.8 points in six NCAA Tournament games and will likely be taken within the first three picks of the draft this June in New York City.

"My only regret is not winning a national title for the University of Memphis," Rose said. "I am, however, very excited about the prospect of playing in the NBA and continuing to strive to be the best player and the best person I can be."

But Rose's departure after one season at the collegiate level was never a surprise to Calipari, who expected his point guard to be a one-and-done scenario.

"Derrick is one of the greatest players I've ever coached, but of even more important, he is one of the greatest teammates I've been around," Calipari said. "We are forever indebted to Derrick and his family for what they did for not only this basketball program, but also for the University and the city of Memphis. It was a tremendous opportunity for me and the staff to coach such a fine person."

While the loss of Rose will change the dynamic of Memphis' backcourt next year, the Tigers are still uncertain about junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts' future with the team. The Conference USA Player of the Year has already indicated that he will, at the minimum, submit his name into the NBA draft to test interest from prospective teams, but there's no telling what Douglas-Roberts will do following a season that saw him lead Tigers to a NCAA Division I record 38 victories.

Rose, however, wasn't the only collegian entering his name into the NBA draft on Tuesday.

Anthony Randolph of LSU also forfeited his college eligibility by signing with an agent after leading the Tigers in rebounds and blocked shots last season and finishing second on the team in scoring.

Randolph, a 6-foot-10, 205-pound forward, will be represented by former NBA star B.J. Armstrong under a company established by sports agent Arn Tellem.

"I signed because once we got the report back from the NBA, it didn't make any sense not to go ahead and move in that direction," Randolph told The Advocate in Baton Rouge. "Once I saw where I was going to be drafted, I knew this is what I wanted to do."

The NBA undergraduate advisory committee, which consists of general managers from all 32 NBA teams and is headed by former coach Stu Jackson, conducted the report and gave Randolph the kind of news that he was ultimately hoping to hear.

"What it told me is that I'll be a lottery pick in the draft, and hearing it from the horse's mouth like that made me realize it wasn't just hearsay," he continued. "It really made me realize how special this opportunity is."

Gonzaga point guard Jeremy Pargo, meanwhile, is another collegian that will test the NBA draft waters this summer, but the junior is keeping his options open by not hiring an agent.

While the early entry deadline is April 27, Pargo has up until June 16 to withdraw his name from the draft, which is set for June 26 at Madison Square Garden.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few seems to be confident that Pargo "will make an educated and thoughtful decision" after being named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year and an Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention.

Still, going through the draft's early entry process will be a great learning experience for Pargo, who showed just how talented he can be during a junior campaign that saw the 6-foot-2 Chicago native average 12.1 points, six assists and 3.7 rebounds.

Posted by Josh Herwitt at 07:34 PM on April 15, 2008
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