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Rose admits it: He wants rookie award
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Derrick Rose


Associated Press

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Published: 3/21/2009 11:57 PM

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Derrick Rose was trying to get some rest and pick out an outfit for Saturday's game with the Lakers, but his phone rang constantly with Memphis Tigers updates in the NCAA Tournament.

"I'm getting calls almost every 10 minutes asking me if I know they're winning," he said. "My mom calls me. She's still a Tigers fan."

The lost rest didn't seem to bother Rose in the game. When it comes to the so-called "rookie wall," brought on by the longer NBA season, Rose doesn't remember confronting it.

"I hope I did hit it earlier and didn't know it, just played through it," he said. "There's no room for a wall right now. This is all critical."

Rose probably has the rookie of the year award about 80 percent locked up. New Jersey center Brook Lopez is making a nice surge, but Rose hopes team success will make a difference.

"I really want it," he said. "I hope I get it for winning and making the playoffs. If not, it will be a letdown."

Good times, great times: Before Saturday's game, Lakers coach Phil Jackson was asked if he has stronger memories of the good or bad times when he returns to the United Center.

"There never were any bad times," said Jackson, who coached the Bulls to all six championships in the 1990s. "Most of it was paced to end (in 1998). So it as easy to close the door at that time and move on, as the saying goes. For the fans and the people that were Bulls die-hards, it's very tough to look back and think about what could have been.

"It's the biggest barn in the NBA, it's a huge building and it's difficult to play in here. It's got a huge homecourt advantage. Someday this team will probably get it back again."

Phil's read on Lakers: This was the first stop on a seven-game road trip for the Lakers, while the World Figure Skating championships take over the Staples Center. Knowing coach Phil Jackson, this is usually when he passes out books to his players.

"Now kids don't read any more," Jackson said. "They stopped reading a few years ago. They just watch; they just look at things. So we do different things with them, although I gave them books the last six-game road trip we went on."

Bull horns: The loss to the Lakers gave the Bulls a 17-13 record against Western Conference opponents this season. Their final 12 games are all against the East. ... Kobe Bryant debuted a new pair of Nike shoes Saturday that were designed by a group of Chicago Public School students.