Before Derrick Rose and Eric Gordon were emerging stars in the NBA, they were teammates.
Very talented teammates.
They were so good together during the summer of 2006, some still refer to it as "The Eric and Derrick Show."
Two of the nation's elite guards, Indianapolis' Gordon and Chicago's Rose, formed a stellar backcourt and were one of the nation's top summer AAU teams, almost by themselves.
"It was stupid good," ESPN recruiting analyst Dave Telep said. "While it was going on, you knew those guys were that good. You knew how special it was to have them together.
"It was a foregone conclusion that these were two professional players hanging out together for a summer. It was as high level as a summer backcourt could possibly be."
Both are now in their third year in the NBA. Rose, who averaged 25 points this season in powering the Bulls to the best record in the Eastern Conference, has Chicago up 3-0 on the Indiana Pacers in a first-round playoff matchup that resumes today at Conseco Fieldhouse. Gordon averaged 22.3 points for the Los Angeles Clippers.
The two played together on a team called Meanstreets, coached by Derrick's brother, Reggie Rose. The team won the prestigious Peach Jam in South Carolina and finished runner-up in the summer-ending tournament in Las Vegas in late July.
The team usually had only six or seven players. Gordon, who became the Indianapolis Star Indiana Mr. Basketball in 2007, and Rose, Mr. Basketball in Illinois the same year, typically played every minute.
"We just played well together," said Gordon, who attended Thursday's Game 3 of the Pacers-Bulls series. "At that time, we just wanted to show people that we're trying to be the best out there. We jelled together. We both played up-tempo games and loved to attack the basket.'
The two regularly scored 30 points or more, sometimes in the same game.
In the championship game of the Peach Jam, they beat an SYF team that included most of the players who led Purdue's recent run -- Robbie Hummel, JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore, in addition to Notre Dame's Scott Martin.
"We both had close to 40 points that game," Gordon said. "And we both had a lot of dunks."
The two played their natural positions, Rose at point guard, Gordon at shooting guard.
"That was fun," Rose said Friday as the Bulls readied for practice at IUPUI. "We were two guys that just wanted to play basketball all out, that don't show much emotion on the court.
"It was great standing back and watching him score the ball. I always loved his game
, even when our high schools played, but it was great playing with him in AAU."
The two played against each only once in high school. Gordon had 32 points, five assists and three steals as North Central beat Chicago Simeon 68-66 in the Challenge of Champions at Southport High School. Rose was held to six points on 2-for-11 shooting.
Together, they were nearly unstoppable.
"Our games fit each other," Rose said.
"He's a scorer and shooter. I was just feeding him. He made my job easy. We really had a great time. I'm still friends with him and his dad."