CHICAGO (AP) -They all want an up-close look, a chance to see one of their own live his dream, so Derrick Rose figures the guest list will be long.
About 20 friends and relatives most nights.
``You just have to call me early to get the tickets,'' Rose said.
Chicago Bulls fans might have a tougher time finding tickets, too.
Not only did their team land the No. 1 draft pick, it went with the point guard from the Englewood neighborhood on the city's South Side.
His task?
Help re-energize a franchise that crashed into the lottery last season and wiped out the good feelings that three straight playoff appearances created. Otherwise, not much is expected of the 20-year-old.
OK, so the expectations are high enough to block a Michael Jordan dunk.
back into contention in the Eastern Conference, even though new coach Vinny Del Negro insisted he won't be rushed.
``Derrick is unique with his athleticism and things he can do,'' he said. ``As he becomes more comfortable, we'll give him more information and more terminology and more sets. But sometimes with young kids - young point guards, especially - just get out of their way.''
Last season, the Bulls tripped over themselves.
They were a mess from the start and never regrouped, their hopes to contend for a conference championship bouncing away like a loose ball.
From 49 wins in 2006-07 to 49 losses, it was a stunning fall for a franchise that finally seemed to be over the hangover that followed the Jordan/Scottie Pippen era. They swept Miami in the first round of the playoffs two years ago for their first series win since the 1998 championship.
And then?
The Kobe Bryant trade rumors and Luol Deng's and Ben Gordon's decisions to turn down multiyear contract extensions set the tone, and unlike previous seasons, Chicago couldn't recover from a bad start.
Players clashed with each other and the coaches. Scott Skiles got fired on Dec. 24, a rather cold Christmas present, but the problems continued.
Interim coach Jim Boylan fared no better and there was more drama after his dismissal.
e courtships with Mike D'Antoni and former Bulls coach Doug Collins went nowhere, before the Bulls lured Del Negro out of Phoenix's front office even though he has no coaching experience.
Time will tell if the fit is right. To many fans, though, the coaching search turned into a public relations mess.
There was one stroke of good fortune, though. The Bulls hit the lottery jackpot despite 1.7 percent odds, and they went with the hometown product over Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.
The early indications are good.
Rose averaged 13.9 points and five assists in the preseason, scoring 30 in a win over Dallas. He was so good in that game that Del Negro stopped calling plays and put his point guard in control.
``He's going to make guys better,'' Deng said.
While they drafted Rose and hired a new coach, the Bulls really didn't address their need for inside scoring or clear out their jammed backcourt.
Unless Joakim Noah or Tyrus Thomas unveil some new post moves, the Bulls' lone threat on the blocks is veteran forward Drew Gooden, who averaged 12 points last season.
s in the mix along with Larry Hughes, who is expected to miss the first two to four weeks with a dislocated right shoulder.
The Bulls did lock in their best player, signing Deng to a six-year contract over the summer, and drafted the point guard they believe has the potential to be a star.
Rose went against stars such as Chris Paul and Jason Kidd in Las Vegas over the summer as a member of the USA Basketball Select Team, helping the national team prepare for its gold-medal run at the Olympics.
``It's given me so much confidence knowing that I played with them on a level,'' Rose said. ``I know that I played against the best.''
Now the face of the franchise, the rookie has to know when to defer and when to assert himself. No problem, he said. He's aggressive, yet, ``I think about my vets.'' They're supportive and that is helping him adjust.
The stakes are high.
His hometown could become his town, period, if he succeeds. During pregame introductions, Rose chose to have the public address announcer introduce him as from Chicago - not Memphis, not Simeon Career Academy (his high school).
He belongs to the city now, but if he's feeling any added pressure, Rose won't acknowledge it.
``I think I've been playing here my whole life,'' he said.
Only now, he's on a bigger stage.

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