All eyes on Derrick Rose as USA Basketball mini-camp begins

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Derrick Rose hasn’t played competitive basketball at the professional level publicly since suffering a season-ending knee injury back in November of 2013.

That changes this week, when Rose will be at USA Basketball mini-camp in Las Vegas, working out with the national team and competing for a spot on the 12-man roster that will compete in the World Championships later this summer.

Rose said back in June that he’s fully recovered, and the Bulls expect him to be nothing less than 100 percent next season. He won’t have any restrictions related to his previous injury, but he will be tested this week against some of the game’s best players at his position.

From K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune:

“This is the next step,” said Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, who also serves as Mike Krzyzewski’s assistant for USA Basketball. “Derrick has handled every step to this point the right way. The last time he participated in USA Basketball, he followed that with his MVP season (in 2010-11). So we’re hoping he can use this time productively.”

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo and Krzyzewski typically place a high premium on previous experience in making roster decisions. So the fact Rose played on the 2010 World Championship team that won gold in Turkey is equity that could come in handy.

Still, Rose could be racing rust against elite competition. And the point guard position is stacked even with Russell Westbrook’s withdrawal. Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s John Wall certainly will test Rose’s conditioning.

It’s difficult to see Rose being left off the roster unless he somehow looks to be several steps slower than the other guards mentioned. But it’s a trial by fire of sorts given the level of guys he’ll be scrimmaging against, and it’s possible that if the rust isn’t shaken off extremely quickly, the skill of the other elite players there could make things difficult on Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski, who would undoubtedly be faced with a very tough decision.