NEW YORK - Derrick Rose is going home, and a whole bunch of freshmen are following him to the NBA.
The Chicago Bulls selected Rose, who grew up on the city's South Side, with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, choosing the Memphis guard over Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.
With Beasley going second to Miami and Minnesota picking O.J. Mayo at No. 3, college freshmen made up the first three picks for the first time in draft history.
'We actually talked about this earlier,' Beasley said. 'We all grew up together and we all grew up playing against each other and we all made a pact together that we would all be here. Just to see it all fall into place and see it all happen is kind of crazy.'
Rose led the Tigers to the national championship game in his lone college season. The Bulls opted for the point guard's playmaking ability over the scoring and rebounding of Beasley, who ranked in the top three in the nation in both categories.
Rose is the Bulls' first No. 1 overall selection since they grabbed Elton Brand in 1999. He's the second straight freshman taken with the top pick, following Portland's Greg Oden last year.
The 6-foot-3 guard put on a red Bulls cap, hugged some supporters, including Memphis coach John Calipari, and shook hands with Beasley, seated at a nearby table, before walking onto the stage to meet NBA commissioner David Stern.
Rose should be an upgrade over Kirk Hinrich, who now could be traded, and gives the Bulls another option if they don't re-sign guard Ben Gordon.
Expected to contend for a division title, the Bulls instead stumbled to a 33-49 record and eventually replaced two coaches. But with just a 1.7 percent chance, they won last month's draft lottery, giving them a chance to quickly return to the playoffs.
'It feels great to go in and compete,' Rose said. 'I'm just blessed to be in that position right now, because a lot of people aren't. And just knowing that we are a few pieces away from really contending as a team, it just makes me happy.'
Miami settled for Beasley at No. 2, even though he wasn't sure if the Heat would go for Mayo instead. Beasley averaged 26.2 points, third in the nation, and topped Division I with 12.4 rebounds per game. But with questions about his size - he may be 2 inches shorter than the 6-foot-10 he's listed at - the Bulls may not have believed he could play the 4 spot in the NBA.
After Mayo's selection, UCLA guard Russell Westbrook was the first non-freshman taken, going fourth to the Seattle SuperSonics - with new teammate and reigning Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant standing and applauding the pick from the back.
Kevin Love gave the Bruins' consecutive picks, going to Memphis at No. 5. The New York Knicks followed with Italian forward Danilo Gallinari, whose father played with new coach Mike D'Antoni overseas. Fans in Madison Square Garden weren't impressed, booing loudly.
'It's part of the game, all the players have got to hear this,' Gallinari said. 'Not every time can you hear good things. It's normal.'
Indiana guard Eric Gordon became the fifth freshman taken, going to the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 7. West Virginia's Joe Alexander, whose stock began to rise after a strong run at Madison Square Garden in the Big East tournament, went to Milwaukee with the next pick.
Charlotte gave new coach Larry Brown a point guard, taking D.J. Augustin of Texas with the ninth pick. New Jersey took Stanford center Brook Lopez at No. 10, and Jerryd Bayless joined fellow Pac-10 guards Mayo and Westbrook by going 11th to Indiana.