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Derrick Rose

I'll Show You by Derrick Rose (and New York Times bestselling author Sam Smith) includes details of his childhood spent in one of Chicago's most dangerous neighborhoods, relationships with opponents and teammates, and the pain and controversies surrounding his career-altering injuries. This excerpt explores his decision to play college basketball for John Calipari at Memphis.

I only played on two AAU teams -- Mean Streets Express and my old team, Ferrari. My brother organized Mean Streets after I left Ferrari. It was basically my team. He wanted me to have a platform. Reggie didn't want to start from scratch and start a new AAU team, so he went to a team in Mean Streets that already existed. He said, "Look, I've got my brother and he's a hell of a player. Can you start a B team?" If you're good, they support you, but if not everything just dries up.

Derrick Rose Book Cover The backcourt on that Mean Streets team was me and Eric Gordon Jr. We won Peach Jam, which is one of the biggest AAU tournaments in the world. And we were the first team to ever do that our first year being in the tournament.

When it was time for college we almost both went to Indiana. He decommitted from Illinois and I was about to go to Indiana with him. I was this close and just talking to my mom, but she was like, "Just sleep on it and tomorrow you'll wake up and know what to do." I woke up and Memphis was where I felt more comfortable. 

North Carolina had always been my dream school to go to. Bobby Frasor was one reason. With him going there it showed me at the time, "Damn, they're looking at kids here." You know what I mean? I was looking at it like if they were looking at Bobby, they probably saw me play. So I was thinking maybe I could go there. 

The first letter that I ever got from a college was from UConn. Yeah, exciting. I hung it up in my room. Recruiting was crazy, but not so bad for me. My brother was taking care of all the meetings. But stuff would happen. I remember being at a party downtown during that time. We were staying the night over at the Hyatt and I remember waking up and my phone was going crazy. My brother was like, "Hey, get back to the house!"

So I hurry back to the house in the middle of the night. Some white guy had jumped out the car -- it's when we were living on Talman -- and he's asking my sister-in-law why Eric Gordon took Illinois off his list. She was scared, thought he was trying to harm her. So she called my brother and said someone was attacking her. She said somebody was there, offering, talking about paying money.

But not Coach Calipari. He made it simple and easy. For one, he came to my house. Bruce Weber from Illinois never would. Cal was the first coach to actually pull up at my house. Pulled up in a Hummer and everything. I didn't even know where Memphis was. Didn't have family down there or anything. But I went on the visit and got a sense of what was going on with his system and I felt I could just fit in with the older guys.

Derrick Rose At Memphis

I liked North Carolina from watching TV, the Duke-North Carolina games, the legacy of North Carolina. So you wanna go there. My list was North Carolina, UCLA, Indiana, Kansas, Memphis, DePaul, and Illinois. 

My brother didn't want me to visit UCLA or North Carolina. I think he thought I'd commit right away. He wanted me to think and make the decision. He really put me in position to have control over my life, not the other way around. People always think my family made decisions for me. I was always too stubborn for that. 

When I was younger, I was obsessed with North Carolina. Told everyone I was going there. What got me with Illinois was Bruce Weber wouldn't come to my crib. I probably wouldn't have gone there, but I think he was scared to come to my house because of the neighborhood. That's what it looked like to me, so they were off my list. It became, "Why do I always have to go see you?" I used to sneak off to Illinois sometimes to play. But if you won't come to my crib? 

Cal was the biggest reason I went to Memphis.

He's got that gift of gab. But he also was honest to me. He told my mom I was going to do what I had to do or wouldn't be in his program for long. I respected him for treating my mom the way he did. He treated her like he'd known her for 20 years. It was with utmost respect and for me to see a white guy being honest like that meant something.

John Calipari, Memphis

I didn't grow up around white people. My first time being in class with a white kid was in college. So a white dude coming in my crib and talking to my mom and she's understanding where he's coming from and he's showing her respect, that was big. And I was feeling the same way. He stood on everything he said. He has integrity. That's something I respect about him. 

I know what some people say about Cal, but he was always just honest with me: "If you don't do what you're supposed to do, you won't be in my program long, kid." If I hadn't gone to Memphis, it probably would have been Indiana. I really didn't know I was gonna commit to Memphis until I went down for the visit. It just felt so much like home. 

They had older guys, more mature. There was focus. It seemed everybody had one goal, one mission. When I got back home, my mom told me to sleep on it. She was like, "I don't wanna know right now. Make your decision in the morning." I slept on it and I was really debating going to Indiana. I knew E.J. -- that's what we call Eric Gordon Jr. -- was going there. That was real big. I woke up and Memphis was the only thing that was on my mind and I went downstairs and told her. She was kind of surprised. But she knew I was in good hands. And we made it all the way to the championship game.

-- Excerpted by permission from I'll Show You by Derrick Rose And Sam Smith. Copyright (c) 2019. Published by Triumph Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Apple Books. Follow Derrick Rose on Twitter @drose. Follow Sam Smith on Twitter @SamSmithHoops.