Page 4-The Michigan Daily- Sports Monday - March 8, 1993
Continued from page 1
Plenty of these stories concern
themselves with his singular
personality. Remarkably, there
actually was a time when Rose
wanted to be like everyone else.
"I used to tell him, 'You don't
have to look like everybody else. Be
yourself.' And I guess that's carried
through on him," says Jeanne Rose,
It seems that ever since, Jalen has
been on a mission to avoid the curse
of being considered average or
typical. This desire to be different
manifests itself on the court. It keeps
him from setting up fast breaks with
the simple pass.
Instead, he must wing the ball
baseball-style downcourt, or lob
alley-oop passes from the three-
point line. It could be called ill-
advised, perhaps, seeing that for
each completed pass there seems to
Rocky going at it," he describes.
"And Clubber Lang's talking the
whole time, but he's winning."
But didn't Rocky end up winning
in the end?
"It's Rocky's movie. Rocky's not
gonna lose in his movie," Rose says.
It goes back to his playground
days, when he would play with the
older neighborhood kids.
"It seemed like I could play all
day and not score a basket," Rose
said. "But when I scored that one
basket, they were gonna remember
that I did."
He has been yammering,
scolding, annoying and teasing
opponents ever since. In fact, a
Sports Illustrated article last fall
declared Rose "probably the biggest
smack talker in the country." When
this is brought up, Rose giggles and
buries his face in his hands. But
surprisingly, for all his swagger and
pride, he declines the crown.
"I'm pretty sure that there's a few
Webber says. "He likes a lot of
attention. To make people laugh,
that's what he likes."
"He's usually pretty up. He
doesn't let too much bother him,"
Jeanne Rose said. "You can't dwell
on negatives. You have to keep
living. And that seems to be his
And even on his bad days, when
nothing seems to be going right, he
is still happy Jalen.
"I have my bad streaks. But what
I do is, when I'm on a bad streak, I
stop. I just stop. Turn off the radio,
turn off the TV, close the door, lock
it, just stop. And I tell myself, 'I
know my good luck streak is
coming. It's coming. And when it
comes, I'm gonna ride it all the way
out.' I think that keeps me going,
keeps me happy, keeps me
But the non-stop talk not only
represents his easygoing ways, but
his intense pride as well. He knows
see them out there and their
situations as I'm growing up," Rose
says. "I see how my brother relates
to people, how my other brother
relates to people, how people relate
to my sister. You gotta learn from
every situation you're in. That
makes you a solid person. "
And of course, being who he is,
there were always laughs around the
Rose home. In particular, Rose
recalls his uncle Paramore, the
"The world's greatest entertainer,
that's what I call him," Rose says.
"If he came to Crisler, he'd turn it
out. He can dance, entertain, tell
jokes, do whatever. I can remember
a few times I've seen him stand on
his head, break dance - he'd do
Thus equipped with his family's
love, his self-esteem and his uncle's
latest knock-knock jokes, Rose went
out and was bitten by the basketball
He was a basketball Jones, the
kid who would leave in the morning
and stay out all night, shooting
hoops with his buddies. The game
was in his blood.
"I have so much fun when I'm
playing basketball," he says. "For
me, being out on the court, it's like
As kids, Rose and his friends
would sneak into the lumber yard
late at night and pilfer a board and a
beam, and set to work. Crates loaded
down with bricks would be nailed to
the post for the base.
Next, the board would be
attached to the other end of the beam
for the backboard. A trip to the store
for the rim and ball, and voih, a
hoop and hours of entertainment.
"We'd play all day, all night,"
Rose recalls. "We'd put it back there
in the alley where the street lights
were - first we had it in the street,
but too many cars came down the
street - so we put it in the alley, put
it under a street light, and played all
day, all night."
The hours spent on the court, his
height and his extraordinary hand-
eye coordination fashioned Rose
into a player who, even in the fifth
grade, had obvious talent. His
mother sent him to St. Cecilia's
Grade School, where he could play
under coach Sam Washington.
Since passed away, Washington
was a highly-respected and beloved
man in Detroit basketball circles.
"Sam was really his first guiding
force to put him in the right
direction," Jeanne Rose says. "He
saw the talent in Jay and he worked
with him. I really hate that Sam
didn't live long to see this. He would
have been really proud of him."
After St. Cecilia's, Southwestern
High School and then-head coach
Watson beckoned. The two first met
at a game when Rose was still at St. .
Cecilia's. It was at a Police Athletic
League game between Rose's AAU
team, including Rose, Webber and
current Minnesota guard Voshon
Lenard, and Southwestern's junior
"Everybody was watching
Webber, and so was I, of course,"
Watson said. "Then I saw this kid
come off the bench with long arms
and immediately you could tell he
was a shooter. I was aware that
Voshon was coming to
Southwestern because his father
taught there. But I kept asking,
'Who's that kid with the arms?"'
The kid with the arms, of course,
was Rose. He has his own
recollections from that day, as well.
"I saw him (Watson) at the game,
and I knew who he was, 'cause I
was all into basketball, and I was
surprised to see him, so I was, like,
showing off a little so he would keep
his eye on me," Rose says.
After the game, the two were
"Yeah, I met him that day," Rose
says. He pauses, and the temptation
to get in a dig is too great. "It's
because we won. We blew their
'at day began a tight
rel' ship between the two that
has g. ..n only tighter with time.
Rose played on Watson's varsity
squad for four years, and in his
junior year, he helped deliver
Watson his first state title. The
championship followed seven title
game losses in eight years for
Watson and Southwestern.
The following season, Watson
and Rose closed out their
Southwestern careers together with
another state title and the No. 1
ranking in the USA Today prep
But it has been more than a
another," Fisher says. "Perry is a
very big influence in Jalen's life,
and in what he's done and how he's
George Granderson, a teacher of
Rose's back at Southwestern, can
attest to this as well. While he was
Rose's chemistry teacher, he handed
out writing assignments as well. And
the topic of many of Rose's essays
"In his writings, he indicated that
he wasn't as serious about his books
as he was," he said. "He was saying
that Coach had turned him around
and given him some direction.
Coach is a-lot like a father figure to
him, to tell you the truth."
And now Fisher himself has
helped guide Rose along.
"He takes the time to listen to
what I have to say, and I respect
what he has to say," Rose says.
"Anytime someone respects you,
and you respect them, the
relationship stays strong, and that's
have had plenty of fathers, per se."
"Maybe it would have been a
problem if we had a negative
household," Jeanne Rose says. "We
didn't. Everything worked out O.K."
Having received the proper
guidance, Rose has brought himself
to the brink of greatness. The
accolades have come by the bushel.
Last year's NCAA tournament alone
brought him All-Tournament team,
Southeast Region Most Outstanding
Player and Southeast Region All-
Tournament team honors.
In addition, he was honorable
mention All-America, second-team
All-Big Ten (media), third-team All-
Big Ten (coaches), and Michigan
co-MVP. His 597 points were a
record for a Michigan freshman.
He admits, though, that his
sophomore season has not been all it
could be. He has .hot poorly from
the floor at times, and at others, has
seemed lackadaisical. His scoring is
down, as is his shooting percentage.
While not the most renowned of Wolverine dunkers, Rose shows Indiana
superstar Calbert Cheaney that he is fully capable of playing above the rim.
Wolverine Jalen Rose's armory of offensive weapons includes both the three-pointer and his pull-up jumper in the
lane. He is best known, however, for daring, body-contorting drives through traffic such as this.
be another that finds its way into the
stands, but it has to be that way, for
Rose and for his Wolverine
"Every team doesn't have that
trick - the flashy plays, the talking
trash, the black shoes, black socks.
We just have that personality," he
says, failing to mention his penchant
for wearing his knee-length shorts
halfway down his rear.
He also doesn't include mention
of his practice outfit. In a rush to get
to practice one day, Rose
unwittingly slipped his jersey on
backwards. A solid practice
followed, and the habit has
Last season, after discovering his
practice jersey was too tight, Rose
borrowed one from then-senior Chip
Armer. He kept it for the season. He
says he is not superstitious, it's just
that he had a good practice in it, so
why not? Besides, people would
expect him to wear his jersey
correctly. Why bow to conformity,
After all, the ones who want him
to pull up his shorts, make the
textbook pass and wear their jerseys
like everyone else are probably the
same ones who want him to shut his
trap on the court. That, friends, will
For all the coaches, writers and
fans who think he should stop
because the only thing it does is to
people out there that talk a lot more
than me," Rose said. "What it is, is,
we're winning. When I'm talking
trash and we're winning, I can be the
best trash talker as long as we're in
the Final Four. When you have a
losing record, ain't too much you
No one is safe from his wicked
tongue. Not even his Wolverine
"For instance, if my practice
team is doing well, and we're
scoring all over the other team and
we're stopping them on defense,"
Rose says, "I'll be yelling, 'Flurries!
Flurries!' to make the other team
And not even close friend Chris
Webber can avoid such treatment.
Rose remembers when Webber first
came to play for their Superfriends
AAU team. Still only 12 or 13,
Webber towered over everyone else
"We were thinking, 'he's coming
to dominate us," Rose says. "So we
kind of waited to see how he played.
And then when I realized that he
was no better than us - 'Oooh.
Gumpy can't walk and chew bubble
gum.' Just ragging on him hard. And
he really couldn't say much because
everyone was laughing at him."
In the end, Rose's fun-loving on-
court persona is just 100 percent
Jalen Rose. He is the embodiment of
the line from the song, "Take me to
he has come a long way and walked
a hard road, and as Rose says,
nothing can take that away from
"Everything that I have, that my
family has, growing up in Detroit,
we had to work so hard for," Rose
says. "So now, I feel that I've
worked so hard to get where I am,
that I'm not going to do nothing or
let anyone sabotage what I have."
That pride, confidence and self-
esteem have come from his
upbringing, from mother Jeanne, and
his older siblings, brothers Billy and
Kevin, and sister Tammy. It was a
single-parent family, but that has
Growing up, Rose had, above all
else, two loves - his family, and
the game of basketball. Both have
provided for him and been his
saving grace from the rough streets
Jeanne Rose had always felt that
keeping her children in the house.
away from the danger, was not the
road to take.
"You can't protect 'em too
much," she said. "You have to give
them a little room to grow, because
we're not gonna always be there for
That, of course was not the only
lesson she taughi Jalen. She would
lecture him on the importance of
having pride and confidence in
what we have."
Jeanne Rose states succinctly,
"I've been very lucky. Jay has had
some very good positive influence in
his life to help guide him."
About all that Jalen received
from his father were basketball
genes. Jimmie Walker, an All-
American at Providence and a
former Detroit Piston, left the Roses
before Jalen could get to know him.
"I really don't know too much
about him. I know that he left when
I was very young," he says. "I know
Everything that I
have, that my family
has, growing up in
Detroit, we had to
work so hard for. So
now, I feel that I've
worked so hard to get
where I am, that I'm
not going to do
nothing or let anyone
sabotage what I have.'
- Jalen Rose
about his basketball past. He went to
Providence, and he was a great
player of his time. That's really
Despite that fact, Rose has
surprisingly little resentment. That is
not his style.
"You kind of wonder about it,
and it bothers you a little," he says.
"But it's kinda like, you never miss
something you never had. My family
structure was so strong that it
seemed like I never missed a beat."
"We were blessed because we
had people there who were willing
to step in and be that force that he
needed," Jeanne Rose says. "There's
only so much I can do as a mother."
Jalen Rose wonders if his father,
now living in Kansas City, will
suddenly emerge from the past
"It's just a matter of
concentrating and a matter of
playing as hard as I can for as long
as I can," Rose said. "Just keeping
my concentration is the key, really.
Sometimes I let it down."
What Rose does not let on to,
though, is that he has played through
significant pain this season. During
the preseason, Rose bruised his left
shoulder, which affected his
shooting. During the Rainbow
Classic in Hawaii, he injured his left
wrist and wore a splint when he
"Well, Jalen's not an excuse-
maker. I think he might have picked
that up from me being at
Southwestern," Watson said. "He'll
never be the one to run to the media
and tell them, 'This is why I shot
Despite the injury, there is no one
else Fisher has more faith and
confidence in. It all stems back to
his remarkable confidence.
He exudes it. Nothing ever seems
to rattle him. Fisher calls it "moxie."
The last time Rose was worried
was "the last time I got a
whupping." As he puts it, after all he
has been through in the city, how
can anything that happens on the
court, the place he loves most,
bother him? He thrives on it.
"If there's a one-point game,"
Rose says, "with a minute and a half
left, I might smile and say, 'You
,know, we're playing on CBS, with
15,000 in the stands right now. It's
time to go.' This is what I live for.
There's no better feeling to me.
Of course, the place where he
will get that feeling night after night
is the NBA. Ever since the end of
last season, Rose and Webber have
been hounded by rumors that they
plan to leave Michigan for the
dollars and the glory of professional
At current, everyone is playing
the cards close to the vest.
"The discussion about that with