Derrick Rose Lifts Memphis Tigers to National Championship Game

michael hellerCorrespondent IApril 6, 2008

“Memphis is overrated.”

“They play in a weak conference.”

“They can’t make free throws.”

“They’ll be the first one seed out of the tourney.”

These are the words that I’ve been hearing from Memphis’ doubters and haters for the last few months. I’ve grown sick of hearing them, and apparently so have John Calipari and his national title game-bound Tigers.

With a loud win over Kevin Love and the UCLA Bruins in the Final Four on Saturday (along with an almost as impressive win over Texas in the Elite Eight last Sunday) it’s safe to say that they have silenced their critics.

With only Kansas standing in the way of their school's first national championship, Memphis fans have one person to thank for taking their team to the level they are playing at now: Derrick Rose.

Now, he is not the only player on the team and they were a good team before he arrived (they made it to the Elite Eight the last two years.) But his presence makes them arguably the best team in the country.

Rose is physically the most dominant point guard in the country. At 6’3”, 205 pounds and with blazing speed, he can get to the basket any time he wants.  There, he has the option to finish himself or dish it out to elite big men Joey Dorsey and Robert Dozier, or All-American Guard Chris Douglass-Roberts.

Watching him break down UCLA’S great defense, I realized just how much he improves Memphis. He makes everyone better by securing easy shots for them. Still, he’s not afraid to take shots himself.

Even with superb point guards Darren Collison and Russell Westbrook trying to stop him, Rose was able to dominate.

His excellent tournament play is certainly helping his pro prospects. He has solidified his place as a top two pick in the draft, and I believe he would help his team right away in the pros. He has an NBA-ready body and a unique skill set.

He will be a star for years to come.

Rose has Memphis on the brink of their first NCAA Championship. I believe that they will win behind a great game by Rose.

Also, kudos to Dorsey for doing what no one else had done all season: shutting out Kevin Love.