Quinton Rose (above) has a lot more confidence after nearly making the USA Basketball U19 squad this summer. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)
(Ed. Note: This article is part of our 2017-18 season coverage, which will run for the six weeks preceding the first official games of the year on Nov. 10. To access all of our high school and college preview content for this season, click here.)
Quinton Rose used to watch documentaries on the 1992 Dream Team. As he got older, Rose watched LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony play for the U.S. National Team.
He would go to bed with dreams of one day wearing a Team USA uniform.
Growing up in Rochester, New York, where he was only rated the No. 31 shooting guard in his recruiting class, those dreams seemed rather far off.
That was until coach Fran Dunphy called Rose into his office last April and told him he was one of 28 invitees to the 2017 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup Team training camp. Suddenly, the dream was much closer to a reality.
“It was a great feeling, knowing that my hard work is getting noticed, and I’m able to show it on the court,” Rose said.
After four training sessions at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs from June 18-20, Rose was announced as one of 18 finalists to make the 12-man team.
The 6-8, 185-pound guard didn’t make the final cuts, but Rose, who wasn’t even a Top 100 recruit coming out of Bishop Kearney (N.Y.), found a way to stand out.
A week after the camp, CBSSports put down Rose as a first-round pick in their “Ridiculously Early 2018 NBA Mock Draft.” Of Rose, they wrote, “[he] was as good as the McDonald's All-Americans who surrounded him.”
While it was probably a bit of an overreaction, the attention showed the impression Rose made on a national stage.
“He was probably the last guy who didn’t make the team,” Dunphy said. “It was a great experience for him.”
Rose made an immediate impact as a freshman for the Owls last season. Five games into his college career, he scored 26 points in an upset win against Florida State and followed that with a 12-point outing in another upset win against West Virginia.
He finished the year averaging 10.1 ppg and 4.1 rpg and reached double-digit scoring totals in 18 of the team’s 32 games. The American Athletic Conference named him to its all-rookie team after he won Rookie of the Week a conference-leading four times throughout the season.
“He surprised a lot of people at how ready he was,” Dunphy said. “I don’t think it’s easy, for example the two games against Florida State and West Virginia, he might have been as good of a player that was on the court. It’s not easy to sustain throughout your freshman year. He did a pretty good job of it.”
After spending time at USA Basketball training camp, Rose has even bigger goals for his sophomore campaign. He said the biggest thing he wish he knew before last season is how hard you have to play every possession in college basketball. That includes both ends of the court.
Dunphy and Rose both see the potential for Rose to be a lockdown defender for the Owls.His le ngth and athleticism can frustrate smaller defenders and help him rebounding against other guards too. One of his goals this year is to be an all-conference defender.
For Rose, the key will be giving a constant effort on that end of the court. Dunphy mentioned former Memphis Grizzlies defensive specialist Tony Allen as someone Rose can model his mental approach on defense after. Allen was known for shutting down other team’s stars.The Grizzlies recently announced plans to retire Allen’s number.
“Tony Allen bought in, every aspect of it,” Dunphy said. “It’s not easy for a young guy to say, you know I can work as hard on both ends of the court. That’s what he’s trying to get across to himself is that he can play 40 minutes at just break neck speed and be good at both ends.”
On offense, Dunphy envisions Rose as a guy who he can give the ball to and say, “‘go make a play. Go get a shot.” Rose’s size and leaping ability with guard skills allow him to get to the basket with ease.
After making fewer than 30 percent of his three-point attempts last season, Rose worked on improving his shooting range this summer with assistant coach Chris Clark.
“Last year, I struggled with keeping my shot consistent,” Rose said. “I would change it up and shoot a different shot every time. Now it’s about shooting the same shot and being ready on the catch.”
If he can cut down on his 67 turnovers and become a defensive stopper, the skillset is there for Rose to turn into a dominant player for the Owls in his second year.
“He’s got himself where he wants to be,” Dunphy said. “Now, the next step is to absolutely be killing it on the defensive end and making really good decisions on offense.”