LAS VEGAS -- There are a lot of reasons Derrick Rose stands out among your average NBA player, but one of the biggest examples why he is so respected in NBA circles this early in his career was on full display throughout the first day of Team USA's training camp.
The 21-year-old All Star actually enjoys being coached.
He doesn't mind taking guidance from his elders and listening to what they have to say. That's why he paid close attention when Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski dropped some knowledge ion him just as the workout started. Rose's yearning to always get better is what made him one of Vinny Del Negro's favorite players. The former Bulls coach stopped by and exchanged pleasantries with Rose before practice and checked to see how his game was doing.
But it's what happened right after Team USA's practice ended that should make Bulls fans smile at the thought of what's to come in Rose's immediate future. As soon as the final whistles blew, Rose came over to the chairs on the sideline where his new coach, Tom Thibodeau, had been watching intently all day. He shook his new coach's hand and immediately asked him for feedback. Thibodeau started coaching his young star up and showing him different things he wanted to work on as the camp rolls along.
"He was just telling me about my defense," Rose said after practice. "Just boxing out my big man, making sure I drive them out towards the baseline so he won't get an offensive rebound. [Thibodeau] is just trying to get everything right, making sure I'm doing everything perfect, or close to perfect, so I can help the team out next year."
Rose and Thibodeau are gym rats, so it should come as no surprise the pair has hit it off so quickly.
"He's terrific," Thibodeau said. "He's obviously a student of the game. He's always trying to get better. He's in the gym all the time. I think this experience here will be invaluable to him. He's striving to improve each and every day, so those are the things you look for in a winning player."
The new coach couldn't help but crack a smile while discussing his young pupil's first day at camp.
"I thought his defense was terrific," Thibodeau said. "I thought he was great on the ball, and I also thought his team defense was excellent, so I was obviously pleased with that. And offensively, he's into the paint very easily, so I thought he was terrific at getting the ball up the floor, running the team, getting the ball into the paint, making plays, and he knocked a couple shots down."
Rose always wants to make the other people around him happy so you can bet he will do whatever he can to impress Thibodeau in the coming weeks and months.
"He's a cool coach, I can't lie," Rose said. "You can tell it's going to be a great relationship between us where we can talk and we can relate to each other. He's a workaholic. I'm a workaholic. And I think we'll be fine with each other."