Detroit — A large number of high-profile athletes and celebrities congregated at the Detroit Golf Club on Monday morning to exchange pleasantries, show off their skills on the golf course, and support the 12th-annual Jalen Rose Leadership Academy Celebrity Golf Classic.
Rose, a proud Detroit native, arrived shortly after 10 a.m. and greeted his high school basketball coach Perry Watson, former Detroit mayor and Pistons legend Dave Bing and others before heading out to the golf course.
When asked about the Pistons, Rose gave a quick list of three of the franchise’s All-Star backcourts: Jimmy Walker — Rose’s father — and Dave Bing. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars. Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton.
It’s a historic lineage of duos that brought the Pistons success in three different eras. Rose believes the franchise’s latest set of guards, Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey, are next in line to join the ranks of Detroit’s All-Star backcourts.
“When you talk to me about the Pistons, it made me think about great backcourts,” Rose said. “I think we now have another All-Star backcourt in Jaden (Ivey) and Cade Cunningham. I believe the way Cade led and matured on and off the floor last year and was able to create his own shot and be more effective and efficient …
“Now for him to have somebody that’s going to make the game easier for him — because Ivey’s a blur. He’s been knocking down shots in practice, working really hard, and I’m really excited about the potential of our team.”
Cunningham had an electric rookie campaign for the Pistons last season, averaging 17.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists as a rookie. He was one of three finalists for the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award.
Rose used Cunningham’s career-high scoring performance of 34 points against the Brooklyn Nets as an example to show that the 6-foot-6 guard is ready for the moment.
Ivey, a 6-foot-5 combo guard out of Purdue, was selected with the No. 5 overall pick by the Pistons in the 2022 NBA draft. He showed flashes of his explosiveness in the first two games of this year’s Summer League showcase before suffering an ankle injury.
Rose told The Detroit News during Sunday’s kickoff party for the tournament that he believes Ivey will be the 2022-23 Rookie of the Year.
“This man is a blur with the ball,” Rose said. “He has great court vision and right now, Troy (Weaver) don’t get mad at me. I saw my guy Troy and Rob Murphy, and they’re like, ‘Jaden Ivey ain’t missing a shot in practice.’
Rose’s high hopes for Killian Hayes
The Pistons’ offseason has been full of storylines about the pairing of Cunningham and Ivey, the addition of No. 13 pick Jalen Duren, Marvin Bagley’s new three-year deal, along with Isaiah Stewart’s transitioning perimeter game.
The progress of Killian Hayes, who’s entering his third season, has been one of the more lowkey narratives. Hayes played in just one Summer League game this year, so there wasn’t enough of a sample size to analyze his potential for next season. However, Rose thinks the 2022-23 campaign will be the year of Killian Hayes.
“Killian Hayes is gonna have a breakout year,” Rose told The Detroit News. “Jalen Rose told y’all. He’s going to help our depth. He’s in the gym working. See the one thing about being a player — I had to deal with this. Unless you’re like Tim Duncan or Magic Johnson — when you come right in as a rookie and you’re killin’ it — it’s a learning curve.
“For some people it’s a week, for some people it’s a month, for some people it’s a year, for some people it’s two years. And (Hayes) got drafted during a pandemic. That’s a terrible time to get picked because you can’t manipulate your summer to get ready for the season.
Hayes has compiled career averages of 6.8 points, 3 rebounds and 4.5 assists through two years in Detroit. He is expected to among the main guards in the Pistons’ rotation alongside Cunningham and Ivey.
“I’m excited about the culture that they’re building,” Rose said on Monday. “I like to see the team (being together) at the Hall of Fame when Ben (Wallace) was getting inducted … and being at the NBA playoffs. I was working the playoffs and I was like, ‘Yo, there goes Saddiq (Bey)!’ But in all honesty, I’m really excited about what (Pistons owner) Tom Gores, my good friend, has done with the team and the support that Platinum Equity, who sponsors this golf outing and the Detroit Pistons, who sponsors JRLA. I’m truly grateful for that support.”
The large collective of sports legends and celebrities in attendance on Monday included former Detroit Lions and NFL Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson, five-time NBA champion Ron Harper, ESPN SportsCenter anchors Jay Harris, Stan Verrett and Michael Eaves, ESPN correspondent Angela Rye and former NBA 2KTV host and digital creator Rachel Demita.
Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem, Pistons associate general manager George David and a couple of team staffers were also on hand to support the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy.
Jalen Rose’s Leadership Academy enters 12th year
Rose’s Leadership Academy, founded in 2011, is an open enrollment, tuition-free school that boasts a 97% graduation rate and a 100% acceptance rate into college or technical school.
Rose, who graduated from Southwestern High School, said it’s important to promote the Leadership Academy and its achievements because the school doesn’t receive state funding to purchase, lease or improve its facilities.
The JRLA is always seeking contributions to support school sponsored college visits and campus tours, technology advances, including additional laptops, tablets and smart boards and funding to keep employ enough teachers to keep classes at 25 students or less.
During Sunday’s kickoff party at Top Golf Swing Suites in the MGM Grand Detroit and a video presentation detailing Rose’s basketball career and the school’s successes over the past decade was displayed. The video also featured a clip of Rose’s late mother, Jeanne, who died in 2021 after a battle with cancer.
“The one thing about consistency, and we’ve been doing this for 12 years, it gives you an opportunity to reflect on the journey,” Rose told The Detroit News. “When I look back at the 12 years, a lot of things have changed. My weight has changed, up and down. My hair has changed. The facility has changed.
“And then just the members of my family, in particular, my mom, who was always there, who was always at these events, who is my guardian angel. The video was a surprise and the video was awesome. When I saw my mother on the video, I know how much she wanted, not only for me to achieve my goal in building JRLA, but how much she knew it meant to me to have a state-of-the-art facility.”