Oct 31, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Derrick Rose (25) looks on following the game against the Utah Jazz at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
A lot can change in seven years.
During the last week of October 2011, Paranormal Activity 3 was America’s No. 1 movie. Adele’s Someone Like You and Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger were jockeying back and forth for the top of the Billboard charts. Derrick Rose was the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player.
Sometimes, it is great to revisit the past and try to re-experience it as if we’re living it for the first time. Someone Like You and Moves Like Jagger still bang, Paranormal Activity 3 is probably still an okay movie but I haven’t seen it since I saw it with my high school girlfriend on opening weekend and that’s cool with me because scary movies, well, scare me.
On Wednesday, we got a taste of the past when Rose dropped a career-high 50 points while lifting the Minnesota Timberwolves to a win over the Utah Jazz. It was like we were living in 2011 all over again and I can guarantee two young basketball players in Ames, Iowa were soaking up every second.
“That’s my idol. I’ve wanted to meet him for my whole life,” said Iowa State star sophomore guard Lindell Wigginton at the Cyclones’ media day last month, just days after he got his first chance to meet the former MVP when the Timberwolves were in Ames for an exhibition game. “So just talking to him, it was crazy. That was probably one of my highlights of my life now. Just meeting him, I try to model my game after him. It was great meeting him.”
— Lindell Wigginton (@Lwigginton5) October 8, 2018
Wigginton’s game exhibits many of the same qualities Rose showed during the early years of his career. The shot-making ability, the explosiveness, the ability to hang in the air with incredible body control. All of those were among the reasons Rose took the league by storm on his way to becoming the NBA’s youngest MVP. They are some of the same reasons Wigginton took the Big 12 by storm as a freshman and is the league’s returning leading scorer entering this year.
“He said he would see me on that stage soon,” Wigginton said. “That felt good hearing that from him.”
Many of those qualities are missing now from Rose’s game seven years and three knee surgeries later. He has become somewhat of an enigma off the court. Feuding with teammates and coaches, a civil case filed against him and several of his friends in connection with a sexual assault and constantly changing teams can do that to someone’s reputation.
None of those things have changed the way another former Simeon Academy product looks at him.
“That’s like my favorite player ever,” freshman guard Talen Horton-Tucker told me. Everybody knows what he means to everybody in Chicago so it was great to meet him again and continue that relationship.”
An emotional Derrick Rose explained what his 50-point game meant to him.
"Everything, man. I worked my ass off…" pic.twitter.com/X3xZ76VvRQ
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 1, 2018
Rose is among the most famous one-and-done players in the history of college basketball. He was electric during his only season playing for John Calipari at Memphis and came seconds away from leading the program to its first national championship.
He was surrounded by hype from the moment he stepped on campus. Horton-Tucker is not facing the same level of excitement as Rose, who was already the presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft when he went to school, but he is certainly dealing with a great deal of pressure.
“Just taking my time and actually do what’s best for me,” Horton-Tucker said of the advice Rose gave him. Depending on how long I stay in school and everything like that. He was just telling me to take my time and let everything come to me… I feel like I can live up to the expectations I have here and the expectations I have coming out of the city. That’s something that matters to me, but it’s something I don’t worry about.”
Who would’ve thought, Simeon Legend(s)🌹 pic.twitter.com/gSbper2Ztd
— Talen (@Thortontucker) October 8, 2018
It surely was emotional for two college kids to watch their favorite player of all-time get emotional after his throwback performance on Wednesday. It was emotional for me knowing how far he had come and it was so freaking cool to see him recapture the magic that made so many people fall in love with his game all those years ago.
“I’ve worked my ass off, bro,” Rose told the Timberwolves TV reporter with tears in eyes after the game as the Target Center crowd showered him with a standing ovation. It brought a smile to my face like it probably did for many others who love this beautiful game.
Sometimes, it is nice to re-experience the past as if we’re living it again for the first time.