NEW YORK CITY — As Team USA is continuing preparations for the 2010 FIBA World Championship in New York City, I had a chance to talk with Chicago Bulls’ guard Derrick Rose about the team, winning gold, the pressure of winning in Turkey and more.
As I walk to Rose, he is lacing his sneakers, icing down his knees and chatting with Oklahoma City Thunders’ guard Russell Westbrook.
Jeff: I bet you and the team are ready to play against the international teams instead of each other?
Rose: (smiles) We want to start now! We want to start this journey we are on.
Got to get that gold huh?
We got to win this World Championship. We have to win it. No let downs!
Is there any pressure to win it in Turkey seeing how the US has not won at the Worlds since 1994?
No pressure at all. I know we are just going to go out there and play. I know with the guys we have on the team are young but we worked hard. We are just trying to bring it together, trying to gell, before we make it out there.
How are you and the team adapting to the international rules of basketball?
You don’t really think about it too much. Only thing you think about is stopping people from scoring the ball. We still need to work on rebounding the ball because everybody is in the paint so you are rarely going to get a clean rebound. So its really up to the guards to get the long rebounds and when we get them we just got to get out and run.
As I conclude the interview with Rose, a group of kids and their parents come up to him and ask for an autograph and pictures. Despite the sore knees and tried look on his face he happily obliges. Talk about a great ambassador for Team USA huh?