DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) -Derrick Rose's response was as direct as one of his passes.
The best player in the draft? He reiterated it's Michael Beasley.
``Hands down he is,'' Rose said after working out with the Chicago Bulls on Thursday.
The No. 1 pick? It could be Rose.
While he was quick to praise Beasley again, just as he did at the NBA's pre-draft camp, Rose also made it clear he would love to play for his hometown team.
The Chicago Bulls have the top pick in the draft next week and an important decision to make. Do they go with Beasley, the forward from Kansas State who would give them a scoring presence? Or Rose, the point guard from Chicago who led Memphis to the NCAA championship game?
While Beasley indicated earlier in the week that he would visit Miami, which has the No. 2 pick, Rose had no other trips planned. The workout on Thursday was his first - and perhaps only - one.
``Right now, he's not scheduled to work out with the Heat,'' said Reggie Rose, his older brother. ``This might be the last stop, I hope.''
Reggie Rose said they are willing to visit Miami, but, ``This might be it.''
If the Bulls are it, that would be just fine with Derrick Rose, who grew up on the city's South Side and played at Simeon High School before leading Memphis to the NCAA final in his lone season with the Tigers.
Rose averaged 14.9 points and 4.7 assists while leading Memphis to an NCAA Division I record 38 victories and was particularly good during the NCAA tournament. He averaged 20.8 points and dominated Kansas in the championship game until the final seconds of regulation.
Memphis was leading by two when Rose stepped to the line with 10.8 seconds left and a chance to seal the victory. Instead of making it a two-possession game, he made one of two free throws. That gave Kansas a chance to tie it and the Jayhawks' Mario Chalmers did just that after Memphis couldn't foul, sending the game into overtime with a 3-pointer that crushed the Tigers.
``It was real tough knowing that I was one of the reasons we lost, not hitting a free throw,'' Rose said.
Now, he could be the man who helps the Bulls rebound from their most disappointing season in years. Expected to contend in the Eastern Conference after three straight playoff appearances, Chicago lost 49 games as players bickered with each other and their coaches.
Scott Skiles was fired in December, and interim coach Jim Boylan lost his job at the end of the season. The Bulls finally hired Vinny Del Negro after a two-month coaching search in which they seemed ready to go with Mike D'Antoni and then Doug Collins.
Along the way, Chicago's luck took a turn for the better when it defied 1.7-percent odds and won the lottery.
``When I signed with (agent) Arn Tellem, we were in a room,'' Rose said. ``He was like, 'Which team do you want to play for?' And he was like, 'I know your hometown.' Everybody in the room started laughing because we thought it was impossible. That night when the Bulls got the No. 1 pick, I was looking at the TV like this can't be true.''
Rose said he never owned a Michael Jordan jersey growing up. He paid closer attention to LeBron James and the two could have something in common in the near future: No. 1 picks who got drafted by the local team.
``I would love to play here,'' Rose said. ``It's a dream come true. You get to bring the Bulls back to where they're supposed to be, hopefully, take it step by step and make progress.''
But if Beasley's the best player, why should the Bulls take Rose?
``I think I can control the team a little bit more,'' Rose said. ``I think I'm a leader. And I think I'll push the players and everyone else to have that attitude.''
If Chicago doesn't pick him?
``I'll be hurt a little bit, but my goal is to be playing in the NBA,'' Rose said.
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