By Jeanne Sager
JEFFERSONVILLE May 16, 2003 Brent Rose isnt the type to shy away from a challenge.
At 64, he wanted to take on the 72 kid at basketball camp. If he hears a player is unstoppable, Rose tells coach thats the kid hes going to guard.
And now the kid from Kenoza Lake is ready to take on the world.
Eighteen-year-old Rose has been chosen as just one of 1,500 high school students in the country to compete in the 2003 United States Scholar-Athlete Games.
That means hell be playing against (and possibly on the same team as) other basketball players from China, Canada and all 50 states.
The students will be divided into teams when they arrive at the University of Rhode Island on June 21 just a few days before Rose is scheduled to graduate from Sullivan Wests Jeff-Youngsville campus.
There will be language barriers, Rose is sure, but that shouldnt be a problem hes looking forward to the challenge.
Roses brother, Darren, also competed in the Scholar-Athlete games and suggested his younger sibling for this years lineup.
Brent filled out his application, noting his 87 average (brought down, he confessed by French class), and his volunteer work in the community.
But most crucial to his appointment was his background in the sporting world.
Hes been playing some sort of sport as long as he can remember. His brothers, Darren, Steve and Brandon all had their own spots in Jeff-Youngsvilles sporting history, and his dad, George, has been a long-time coach in the district.
They all said go for running, Rose recalled, but basketball was something I wanted to do.
Hes done the running thing, racking up 14 plaques, 13 trophies and 44 neck medals in his years on the team.
But its on the court that Rose has really made his mark.
He captained the team in seventh, eighth, 10th and 12th grades. He was named MVP this season, started on his AAU team and grabbed honors at each Billy Moran Tournament.
Rose started organized basketball in fifth grade playing intramurals at the Jeff school.
Basically we were just learning what the foul line is, he recalled.
Having his dad as a coach has worked to his advantage in some ways George can open up the gym at any time for Brent to get some practice time in.
But it also means working a lot harder to prove hes a good player, not just the coachs son.
Theres a lot of pressure, Rose noted. If I didnt do something right, I got it right there on the court so people didnt think he was playing favorites and then I got it at home again.
Rose has worked hard at his hoop at home, at school and in basketball camp to prove his success is his own, not a result of his dads amiable ways.
The best thing that helped me was playing AAU, Rose admitted. And the best time I ever have is when my brothers are home and we play.
Rose will be attending SUNY Fredonia in the fall, and hell be playing basketball under the watchful eyes of his favorite coach from Oneontas basketball camp.
The coach told him, I like the way you work, your work ethic, which boosted Roses own self confidence in his game.
Hes looking forward to moving on and making new friends, finding new challenges, he said, despite the cold climes of snowy Fredonia.
And Rose is looking forward to proving himself on the court against other scholar-athletes.
I love the adrenaline rush of basketball, he said. If you think I cant do it, Ill show you I can.
Who does he hope to play someday?
[Lebron] James, that kid who is going straight to the NBA from high school, Rose said. Id love to go against him.
Rose just might get to see him at the University of Rhode Island. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani will be the games guest speaker, and other world-renowned speakers will be on hand.
The event lasts through June 28, but Rose will come home one day early to walk with his class on graduation day.