When we talk about draft picks we discuss athleticism, outside shot, basketball IQ, college success, vertical leap and the other things we as fans can see and measure.
But maturity and passion for the game and the craft matter more in how a player develops. Competitiveness matters a lot. We can’t measure it, and a lot of teams seems to ignore it.
To illustrate the point comes a fascinating story from The Jerry Tarkanian Show on Tuesday night, as told by Clippers’ Director of Player Development Dave Severns (via the Jack Fertig blog).
Remember that the Chicago Bulls had the first pick in the 2008 draft. Coach Vinny Del Negro and owner Jerry Reinsdorf had personal interviews with the guys they were considering to be the No. 1 pick, including Derrick Rose of Memphis and Michael Beasley of Kansas State. Serevens takes the story from there.
During the session with Beasley, there were a couple occasions in which (one of) his (two) cell phones went off. Believe it or not, he answered the calls!
New head coach Vinny Del Negro advised him that he was meeting with the owner and that, at that time, there couldn’t be too many things more important than listening to what Mr. Reinsdorf had to say and answering whatever questions the people at the meeting had of him. When Reinsdorf posed the question, “What about college basketball bothered you most?” Beasley contemplated for a moment and said, “When you go on the road and the referees make bad calls.”
When it was Rose’s turn in front of the brass, he sat up straight and was totally focused. He had a thorough grasp of the magnitude of the encounter. He put his ego aside. Consider this is a guy who won back-to-back state titles in high school and went 38-2 in his only season in college, dropping the national championship game in overtime. His answer speaks for the kind of guy Derrick Rose is and why he’s destined for (even more) greatness. What was his response to Reinsdorf’s question, “What about college basketball bothered you most?”