DALLAS -- Carmelo Anthony, maybe the poster child for USA Basketball's rebirth, was getting ready to leave Friday's All-Star media session when I asked him whether he was looking forward to playing with Derrick Rose in the Olympics down the line.
A big smile came across his face.
"Yeah," he said. "Hopefully we can hand the torch to him in a couple years."
It's clear that Rose, who was named as one of the 27 players who will compete for the right to represent the USA in the 2010 World Championships, and the 2012 London Olympics has already started making a name for himself amongst USA Basketball's elite.
“Derrick Rose is a great talent," USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said. "And he's going to get better and better. He's got size, he has speed, he has quickness. He knows how to play. He can finish. He’s just a young player who's got an incredible future ahead of him. So we want him to be part of our program and he wants to be part of it."
It doesn't surprise Colangelo that players like Anthony are ready to pass the torch to Rose.
"A lot of the veteran players, I've sensed, and seen, that they're helping the young guys all the time,” he said. “I remember [Kevin] Durant showing up at our camp. He almost made the team last go-round. He 21 years old, averaging 29 a game right now, which is just remarkable to me.
“But, I saw how guys were helping him and working with him. Players, not just coaches. So, if this is your life, and this is your profession, to be able to compete against guys like that in practice -- the best. And then take that experience into your respective teams and then on an international stage, it's unbelievable."
Rose made it clear earlier in the week how much he wants to play on the national team. The honor of playing for the country obviously means a lot to him. And it's evident that even the veterans are looking to competing with him in the team's upcoming mini-camp in Las Vegas this summer.
"Oh, yeah, for sure," Denver Nuggets guard Chauncey Billups said when I asked about facing the Bulls' young star. "He's one of those guys that's going to be on the Olympic teams ... he's one of the studs, man. He is."