Get inside March Madness with SI.com's Luke Winn in the Tourney Blog, a daily journal of college basketball commentary, on-site reporting and reader-driven discussions.
4/02/2008 02:42:00 AM
The Book on Memphis' Derrick Rose
David E. Klutho/SI
SI.com spoke with an assistant coach from a former Memphis opponent to get an anonymous scouting report on Derrick Rose, as well as a breakdown of a set the Tigers run for their star freshman point guard. Here's what the coach had to say:
"[Rose] is jet-quick, an explosive combo guard with size who pushes the ball in transition and is excellent in the open court. He's always looking to get to the rim. Only 25 percent of Rose's shots are threes; he's not bad at shooting them, but like we told our guys, he's not going to settle for them. And he's also a real threat on the offensive glass, so he needs to be checked.
"He loves to do a hesitation crossover dribble from left-to-right. When he goes left, he likes to shoot pull-up jumpers, and when he goes right, he likes to shoot floaters with the right hand -- and he's way more likely to get all the way to the rim going right, too. When he's in [the lane] he does not shy away from contact; he can finish over a defense and get to the free-throw line.
"Stopping him in transition is really tough. We told our big guys to get back and try to 'corral' the ball, so there were two guys on him at all times, but that's hard to execute.
"In the half-court, we tried to guard him with a man-and-a-half on both sides -- what that means is, if you're guarding the guy on the right wing, you're in the gap, not leaving your guy altogether, but just being in a position to do two things. You have to pick your poison, because CDR [Chris Douglas-Roberts] will be on one wing and [Antonio] Anderson will be on the other, but we decided we had to help off of them because they don't shoot the ball really well from the perimeter. When you're not as athletically gifted as they are, you have to cheat a little bit."
The following is an actual play the Tigers run for Rose in their man-to-man offense, as diagrammed by our anonymous assistant. It gives a window into why Memphis coach John Calipari would refer to his offense as "Princeton on Steroids":
"They make it sound like they don't have any sets, but they usually run a few structured things at the beginning of a possession before they get into the Dribble-Drive [Motion]. One of those [the first one below] is Dribble Loop Clear, where Rose and CDR cross positions at the top, then Rose hesitates and attacks after the five-man has cleared to the weakside.
The second -- and this is the Princeton part -- is a Dribble Loop Clear Backcut. Rose and CDR do the same loop and hesitation-attack thing, but Rose hits a flashing five-man at the left elbow while the three man has back-cut to the weak-side. Rose then backcuts from the wing to the basket: