Fresh off a FIBA World Cup gold medal showing for the United States, Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose knows that he has to put that to one side now and focus on next season.
One man that many expected he would face at the Final in Madrid was his new team-mate Pau Gasol of Spain. Instead, Gasol, whose Spanish side were knocked out in the quarter-finals settled for a court side seat and gracefully accepted his spot in the World Cup’s All-Tournament starting five at the end.
Rose, who went scoreless but dished out 6 assists in the 129-92 win over Serbia is looking forward to welcoming Gasol to Chicago.
“I talked to him, I think he’s coming to Chicago on the 22nd or the 24th [September] or something like that,” Rose said. “I think everybody’s excited, the city is excited, the players are excited. So I think that it should be a good year, we’ll go out there and work hard and play together.”
Chicago Bulls head coach and USA assistant Tom Thibodeau is looking forward to meeting with Gasol when training camp begins in Chicago. The playmaker said that he had spoken numerous times with the Spaniard but refused to comment on what was said, other than just ‘see you at camp’.
Thibodeau is particularly looking forward to seeing how both Rose and Gasol will connect with each other in Chicago and thinks they will figure out how to be effective.
“Pau is a great addition,” Thibodeau said. “Great players like Derrick and Pau will figure out how they will compliment each other, but they will be great together. For me, there’s nothing Pau can’t do. He’s a very good pick-and-roll player, he can play in the post, he’s a great passer and defensively, he can rebound, block shots and just does what he can to help you win.”
As for Rose, Thibodeau has been with him all summer and his top priority was that the Bulls guard finished the World Cup injury free plus get some valuable game-time fitness. Playing nine games in 16 days certainly helped and overall Thibodeau is pleased with how Rose is recovering.
“I thought this World Cup was ideal for him,” Thibodeau said. “He’s been out for two years so both physically and mentally he’s doing very well. We knew he would have some ups and downs but he has to shake the rust off and take it game-by-game and that’s what he is doing and I’m proud of him. He’s played nine games in two weeks and he’s getting there, no doubt about it.”