By Jon Mahoney, Special to SI.com, RISE
Senior point guard Derrick Rose proved why he's one of the nation's top players on Thursday night by leading Chicago's Simeon (13-2) to a 78-75 victory over No. 1 Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) in a game that wasn't as close the final score indicated.
The Memphis-bound Rose, who's rated the nation's No. 5 recruit in the Class of 2007 by RISE, put on a show for the hometown crowd at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion and thousands of others watching on national TV.
Rose finished with 28 points, nine assists and eight rebounds and appeared to have his way with previously-undefeated Oak Hill, especially on the fast break, where he was virtually unstoppable.
Arguably the nation's fastest player from baseline to baseline, Rose opened up the floor for his unheralded teammates with his lightning quick drives to the hoop.
Senior power forward Kevin Johnson finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while senior center Tim Flowers added 10 points and 10 boards. Senior Daniel Green and junior Kenyon Smith had wide open looks at the hoop and made the most of them, finishing with 11 points and nine points, respectively.
Smith also did a great job defensively on Oak Hill star junior point guard Brandon Jennings, who's rated the nation's No. 4 overall recruit in the Class of 2008 by RISE.
Smith held Jennings scoreless for the first three quarters before Jennings went off for 19 in the fourth, including 16 in a 2:40 span that brought Oak Hill to within four at 76-72 with seven seconds left. However, just like he did all game, Rose stepped up, sinking two free throws to ice the game for the Simeon, who came into the game ranked No. 24 but will certainly move up come next week's rankings.
Oak Hill senior guard Alex Legion led the Warriors with 23 points and nine rebounds, but he appeared to be the only player who could match Simeon. Senior guard and Duke recruit Nolan Smith scored 12 points, but he looked unimpressive before fouling out in the fourth.
Jennings is extremely talented -- you don't score 16 points in 2:40 by accident -- but can be erratic and had seven turnovers. Meanwhile, post players Julian Vaughn and Trey Thompkins were outplayed by the smaller tandem of Johnson and Flowers.