For the past week or so Raptors
fans had a pretty good idea of who they were getting in the draft. Leading up to tonight, Bryan Colangelo and company had seen DeMar DeRozan play or work out 25 times. I’m not exactly sure what you are going to find in the 25th session that you wouldn’t have after 10, but regardless, it showed that the Raptors
had a significant interest in DeMar. Now it’s official, Demar DeRozan will be dawning the white, black, and red next season. So lets take a closer look at the best wingman to call the ACC home since the departure of He Who Shall Not Be Named:
DeRozan, a native of Compton, attended the local Compton High School where he played his high school ball. DeMar made the varsity team when he was only a grade 9 and by the time he was a senior he averaged 29.2 ppg and 7.9 rpg. In his final year in HS, DeRozan led Compton High School to a 26-6 record on their way to the regional Moore League title and the CIF Division IAA Southern Section quarter-finals. After a solid HS career at Compton HS, DeRozan was ranked 3rd overall by Rivals in the 2008 class and was invited to the McDonald’s HS All-American (AA) game. It was there that he would show the nation what all the hype was about. First DeRozan blew our minds with a reverse between the legs dunk followed by a Dwight Howard esque tap off the backboard slam that won him the McDonald’s AA Dunk Competition. But his show stopping dunks didn’t end at the dunk contest, in the All American game itself DeMar continued to excite the crowd with alleyoops where it seemed like his head would hit the rim. DeMar was now a superstar.
For college Tim Floyd, the ex-USC head coach, convinced DeMar to attend USC by promising his AAU teammate and best friend Romeo Miller, better known as Lil’ Romeo, a spot on the team. Despite being the #3 overall prospect DeRozan struggled in his first few months at USC and failed to adjust to his new role as the SF on the team after playing the SG his entire high school career. In time DeRozan adjusted to his new position and it started to show in the box score where DeRozan’s numbers were finally starting to live up to what the Southern California faithful were expecting. DeRozan’s late season surge carried over into the postseason where in the Pac-10 tournament he averaged 21 points, 9 rebounds, and 2 assists while leading the Trojans to an unlikely Pac-10 title. In the NCAA tournament DeRozan scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds in a first round blowout victory over the higher ranked Boston College Eagles. Then the Trojan’s faced the eventual tourney runner-ups, MSU, and lost a close game 74-69. Despite the loss DeMar played great again scoring 18 and grabbing 5 boards. DeRozan had shown the nation on the biggest of stages that he was ready for the next step and shortly after the season DeRozan declared himself eligible for the NBA Draft.
Now DeRozan joins a Raptors
squad that underperformed last season after making the playoffs the previous two years. The starting lineup prior to Demar’s selection was Jose Calderon
at point guard, likely free agent pick up Carlos Delfino at shooting guard, Joey Graham (the only SF currently on the roster) at SF, obviously Chris Bosh
at PF, and Andrea Bargnani
at center. In an interview after the first round on “the Score” Raptors
head coach Jay Triano discussed Demar and said that he will be a big part of the teams success this upcoming year. However, Triano said that at the beginning of the season DeRozan will likely be coming off the bench as the Raptors
6th man before taking over the starting role sometime later in the season. This will allow DeRozan time to adjust to the NBA and develop his game before taking over the starting job.
This is the first time Toronto fans have had something to be excited about at the 2 or 3 position. DeRozan’s dunking ability may arguably be the best in this draft class and he has been said to resemble Vince Carter
in many ways. Lets just hope that the comparisons are just reflective of his on the court skills and not the mentality that ended VC’s relationship with the Canadian fans. I for one am stoked on this selection. The Raptors
previous starting 2 guard, Anthony Parker, was reliable but was not nearly as exciting as DeMar DeRozan’s game projects to be on this Raptors
team. Also it has been said that DeRozan may have as much star potential as any player in this draft and could end up being a dominating guard in the East in years to come.
Welcome to Toronto Air Canada! We can’t wait to see what you can do!
- KC Roberts