June 26, 2008
NEW YORK, N.Y. - After a season of since thens and firsts in 2007-08, the Memphis men's basketball program made more history Thursday night when freshman guard Derrick Rose was selected as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA Draft in New York City. The Chicago Bulls, who owned the No. 1 pick, drafted the Tigers' point guard, making it the first time in school history that a Memphis player went No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.
The previous highest Tiger player drafted was Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway in 1993 when he was the No. 3 overall selection by the Golden State Warriors. Hardaway was later traded on draft night to the Orlando Magic. Overall, Rose is the 11th Tiger selected in the NBA Draft first round, joining Win Wilfong (1957), Wayne Yates (1961), Keith Lee (1985), William Bedford (1986), Hardaway (1993), David Vaughn (1995), Lorenzen Wright (1996), Dajuan Wagner (2002), Rodney Carney (2006) and Shawne Williams (2006).
Rose is only the second guard selected with the No. 1 overall pick since the NBA Draft lottery began in 1985. Allen Iverson was the other guard taken with the first overall selection in 1996 by the Philadelphia 76ers. Rose also becomes the second Conference USA player to be a No. 1 overall pick, as New Jersey selected Kenyon Martin No. 1 in the 2000 NBA Draft.
Rose, a Chicago, Ill., native, is the third NBA Draft lottery pick for head coach John Calipari. In the 1996 draft, Marcus Camby (UMass) was the No. 2 overall selection, and Wagner (Memphis) was the No. 6 pick in the 2002 draft.
The Tigers' 6-foot-3 guard was the team's second-leading scorer at 14.9 ppg, and also averaged 4.5 rebounds and 4.7 assists. He shot 47.7 percent from the field and 71.2 percent from the free throw line. A consensus All-America Freshman Team pick, Rose was an Associated Press All-America third team selection and a Bob Cousy Award finalist. He also was selected to the All-Conference USA first team and was the league's Freshman of the Year.
This past season, Rose helped lead the Tigers to the program's best campaign in school history. Memphis won an NCAA record 38 games (38-2 record) and advanced to the NCAA title game. The Tigers, who spent a school-record five-straight weeks in the No. 1 spot in both national polls, won the Conference USA regular season and tournament titles and the NCAA Tournament South Region crown en route to the NCAA championship game.
Additionally, three more Conference USA players were selected in the second round of the 2008 NBA Draft. UAB forward Walter Sharpe went with the 32nd pick to Seattle, then Memphis forward Joey Dorsey followed immediately after at No. 33 to Portland. Chris Douglas-Roberts was the third Memphis Tiger selected when the New Jersey Nets drafted him with the 40th pick.
The four NBA Draft selections are the most since 2001, when six C-USA student-athletes were drafted.