Derrick Rose can't help but be excited for the upcoming Bulls season. Fans won't stop reminding him about it.
"The feeling is really coming from the love I've been getting from the fans," Rose said after Team USA practice on Friday.
"Everywhere, man -- restaurants, gas stations, people pulling up besides the car blowing their horn, trying to get me to roll my window down. Waiters, waitresses, just saying they're excited; saying, 'This is our year,' stuff like that."
"I think the fans are way more excited than I think the players are. We have a great roster. They believe in the roster and it's great."
Rose thinks that excitement may lead to a good crowd attending Saturday's exhibition at the United Center between Team USA and Brazil (8 p.m., ESPN).
Team USA didn't scrimmage Friday, but spend nearly an hour on defensive assignments, with Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau doing all the talking.
"Thibs, he's going to talk 30 minutes on one set, on one play," Rose said. "He's very detailed about his defense. Coach (Mike Krzyzewski) and his coaching staff knew that before coming in, that they would need someone like him and we do. This is the most defense that we've practiced ever since I've been on the U.S. Team."
The goal for this team is to win a gold medal at the FIBA World Cup in Spain later this month. Team USA begins play on Aug. 30 against Finland.
Rose is also using the experience to prepare himself for the NBA season. He's played in just 10 games during the past two seasons due to a pair of knee surgeries. Among his goals are to become a more vocal leader and slow down the pace of his game.
"This is my chance to actually become a better leader; being more vocal in the locker room, being more vocal on the floor," Rose said. "It's a huge journey for me and I'm not going to shy away from it."
Rose, 25, is one of the older players on the current 16-man Team USA roster. Former Bulls guard Kyle Korver is the elder statesman at 33, followed by Rudy Gay, who turns 28 on Sunday. Steph Curry, who turned 26 in March, is the only other player older than Rose.
"I think it's going to help me become a leader with the Bulls next season," he added. "It's going to help me, I would have to say, have a better relationship with my teammates. I've always had good relationships, but being vocal and always talking to them, I think it should be even better. So I'm excited about it."
The other focus for Rose is slowing down, being smarter with his passes and cutting down on turnovers.
"My game is developing into a control game," he said. "I think I'm using my speed whenever I need to. I'm playing a more relaxed game now. I think you'll see a mature basketball player out there whenever I play."
When Friday's practice was opened up to the media, most players were shooting around, but Rose was sitting down, talking to Thibodeau.
"I think he's improving. I think his approach is a lot better (than last summer)," Thibodeau said. "I think he was so anxious last year to come back, he was almost forcing things. He has a much better understanding now -- show more patience, find the rhythm of the game. Go out there and run the team."
Rose said he has no idea if he'll be in the starting lineup against Brazil and doesn't mind coming off the bench. Following this game, USA Basketball is expected to trim the roster from 16 to 12 before practice resumes Monday in at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
Cousins won't play:
Sacramento forward DeMarcus Cousins, who injured his right knee during a scrimmage on Thursday, will not play Saturday against Brazil. Cousins walked with a limp after Friday's practice session. … New Orleans center Anthony Davis missed parts of Friday's practice with a sore neck, but is expected to play against Brazil. … USA Basketball canceled a clinic scheduled to be held in Senegal on Aug. 28 due to concerns about the Ebola virus.
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