As he joined the Memphis Grizzlies this offseason, Derrick Rose is also planning to make a reconnection with his former university that handed him early stardom.
According to Memphis Tigers head coach Penny Hardaway, Rose has expressed his intentions to get reunited once again to the collegiate program upon inking a contract with the Grizzlies this summer.
“When he signed with the Grizzlies, the first thing I thought about was, ‘I’m gonna grab him and take him under my wing to get him back into the fold with the university,’” Hardaway said, via Jason Munz of Memphis Commercial Appeal. “Then, he reached out to me, without me reaching out to him. He said, ‘Hey, man, I want to get back. I want to get with you and come around campus more.’
“I thought that was great. He actually beat me to the punch.”
Rose ascended to national relevance as his one-year run with Memphis saw special heights. As the university’s prized star freshman, he helped the Tigers to lift their most glorious campaign in the entire program history back in 2007-08 – clinching the most wins in the season (38-2) while also being able to reach the NCAA Tournament title round, only to come up short against the Kansas Jayhawks.
But these team achievements and Rose’s wonderful individual feats were pounded to dust as an NCAA investigation in 2009 determined that the Educational Testing Service voided the guard’s SAT Reasoning Test score which made him eligible to play at Memphis. As a result, all of the 38 wins and one NCAA tournament loss by the Tigers program were subsequently vacated by the NCAA for violation of their guidelines.
Since then, the relationship between Rose and Memphis has gone silent. But upon the former MVP’s joining the Grizzlies this 2023, Hardaway assured that Rose will “be more involved” to the Tigers moving forward.
Rose, who spent his last 2 ½ years in the New York Knicks, inked a two-year, $6.5MM deal with the Grizzlies as an unrestricted free agent.
The 34-year-old is expected to mentor franchise cornerstone Ja Morant who will sit Memphis’ first 25 games of the upcoming season in relation to his firearm incident.