WEST POINT, N.Y. – Derrick Rose didn’t let his personal life stop him from having what he called the best training camp of his career.
Rose, a former NBA MVP, said being healthy and staying focused allowed him to excel in his first camp as a Knick. He said he hasn’t been concerning himself with the $21.5 million civil rape suit against him scheduled to go to trial Tuesday, and is just thinking about basketball.
“I’m sensitive to the subject and the topic but in my mind I feel like I didn’t do anything wrong,” Rose said after the Knicks broke training camp Saturday. “So I can’t waste a lot of time thinking about it.”
Rose expects to be in Houston Tuesday when the Knicks open the preseason against the Rockets. He said he was meeting with his lawyers later Saturday to discuss the case and next steps.
“I have a great team handling it. They’re doing the best to defuse the situation, either to take it to court or whatever it is.” he said. “This is my first time in the system. I don’t know what’s next. So after I talk to them and get more details, that’s when I’ll be able to tell you.”
Rose said he’s not worried about his conditioning slipping if he has to be away from the team, and used an interesting choice of words in describing why.
“I do penitentiary workouts, bro,” Rose said. “I’m in my room doing pushups, situps. When I’m in my room, it’s stretching and having little workouts, working on my body, flexibility, reading, and watching a lot of documentaries.”
Rose, who has missed two training camps because of injuries the past five seasons, has put all of his attention into basketball.
“I think this is the best camp I’ve had,” Rose said. “I look at it as the years that I’ve played in the league, this is the most focus I’ve had, knowing the situation what I’m getting myself into. The big year we have ahead of us. We’re focused, we’re dedicated, that’s all you want from this group.”
New Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek and Rose’s teammates say the case is not affecting him during practice.
“We talked about it briefly, just as far as how he’s doing mentally, and he seemed fine, to be honest with you,” Carmelo Anthony said. “He comes out here on the court and he’s Derrick. He’s laughing and joking, he’s having fun, he’s enjoying it. When you’re in your room, it could be something different behind closed doors. But around us, it’s all basketball, it’s all fun, it’s all enjoyment for him.”
Hornacek said, “Every time we ask him those questions and talk to him he says he’s just focused on basketball. I would guess deep down there’s some thoughts back there that’s distracting at times, but I didn’t see that [when he was] playing. Maybe when he’s on the court he’s just playing and other times he deals with that. ‘’