Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Both hailing from Chicago, both ball-dominant guards, both without a great jumper, but there's no doubt who the better player is right now. Derrick Rose and Evan Turner played their high school ball against each other, usually with Evan taking a backseat to D-Rose despite being a year older. The two of them got frisky with words.
We've got the story from the Chicago Sun-Times and they've unfortunately left out the YO MOMMA jokes. I'll check with Wilmer Valderrama to see if he remembers any.
Rose was regarded as the top player in the state. Turner was challenging Rose for player of the year honors.
At halftime, standing near center court, Turner said "Derrick Rose ain’t [crap]."
In the second half, Rose and Turner really went at it, jawing back-and-forth the entire time. Late in the game, Turner scored on a layup and was fouled. Before shooting the free throw, Turner turned around and said something to Rose. An official approached Turner at the line and defused the incident.
Turner scored 29 points, including 20 straight during one stretch, doing his best to back up his bold words. Rose scored 29 as well, and Simeon won 74-66. After the game, Turner’s quotes raised plenty of eyebrows.
"I was better than Rose," Turner said. "With me guarding him he didn’t do much. He knows that, and I know that."
Rose’s response was one of the few times in his high school career where he showed some bravado.
"We both know who is better," Rose said. "He’s just doing this to get a little bit of publicity. We’ll see who does more on the next level. They called a lot of soft fouls on us when he had the ball. It wasn’t like he did anything that impressive."
Rose would go on to end Evan's high school career. And we know what happened after that. Evan went to Ohio State and played three terrific seasons leading a Buckeye team that got as far as the Elite 8. Rose played for John Calipari in Memphis and lost to Mario Chalmers top of the key jumper and Kansas in the foul shooting embarrassment of a title game. In the show, D-Rose is an MVP, ET is still unproven (bust, obvs).
Now the story is Evan calling the Bulls an easier matchup (they are) and people are bringing this spat back up. They were in high school, guys. Yes they were competitive and, especially when you're 16, every athlete thinks they're the best.
Turner's Sixers are 3-2 over the Bulls since Derrick got there, but the comparison isn't really close. We'll see if this comes up over the series.
Gene Pingatore, Turner's high school coach, weighs in
(edit from Derek Bodner)
I interviewed Turner's high school coach, Gene Pingatore, halfway through Turner's rookie season with the Sixers and this game came up.
"[Evan] wasn't overshadowed at all," Pingatore said when talking about playing in the same city as Rose. "Their big guys demolished us. Rose didn't beat us at all, in fact we got him in foul trouble. Evan guarded Rose and did a good job on him."
"The only difference is Rose, his team won the state, and then he got all the press."
Gene went on to talk about Turner's lack of media attention nationally while in high school.
"The thing that didn't happen, which was probably very political, [Evan] didn't make the McDonald's All-American team, and I thought that was a travesty," Gene Pingatore continued. "It shows [what happens] if you get on the wrong team and don't have the ability to showcase yourself."