Demar DeRozan Talks with DNB

27 minutes and 22 seconds and 9 points going 3-7 and he had 4 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. That is how "Heir Canada" Demar DeRozan started his NBA journey in his first pre-season game. I had a chance to sit down with Demar and talk with him. He is a very nice young man and you can't help but like him and hope he succeeds. He is humble in the sense he realizes that there is lots left to learn. At the top of that list seems to be the rotations on defense in the NBA. You could also tell that he had the nerves flowing last night in his pre-season debut. But the one thing about Demar is that he will learn from it. I asked him Friday night on what he took away from his first training camp in the NBA.

Demar DeRozan- " Just a learning process. Trying to get better everyday and learn. Get experience from the vets and my teammates that have been in the league. Just trying to make myself better every time that I get out here."

Seems one of those guys that has taken Demar under their wing is Jarrett Jack. Jack was giving him a hard time on media day when he was talking with the Fan 590. It was all in good fun though. However Jack is also offering the young rookie advice as well. The one thing that you hear about Demar is how willing he is to learn and get better. I follow Demar on Twitter @Demar_DeRozan and one of the things you will notice is he is always working. He has a great work ethic in my opinion and I was curious to know where that came from for Demar. What makes him work so hard?

Demar DeRozan- " Just wanting to be great. Just wanting to separate myself from everybody that plays basketball. Just try to be more than just the average basketball player and be able to do it all."

It is not a matter of arrogance in Demar saying that. He says it in a very matter of fact way. He understands there is a ton to learn and work on to be great. He even use to go train at UCLA which for Trojan player may not be easy. Demar said he liked that though. He would have people yell at him to get off their campus you Trojan. He never paid it any mind and used it as motivation. He continues to work towards his first season in the NBA. Last night was a step in that direction. I asked him what were his goals as he gets prepared for opening night vs Cleveland.

Demar DeRozan-" Just to mature. Especially on this level. Learn as much as I can about the game. It is more mental than anything. So I am just trying to get knowledge every time I come out here and play."

Demar is already a pretty mature as a person. In talking with him, it never crossed my mind that this was a 19 year old kid that I was talking too. He has already took steps in maturing physically as well adding a few pounds since summer league. Still it has to be a really life changing experience no matter what age you happen to be when you get drafted into the NBA. I asked him what had changed since Demar heard his name called on draft night.

Demar DeRozan-" It's crazy.... Like night to day. It has been a tremendous change. I am not a regular person anymore like I was like a year or two ago. I'm a professional athlete and I take that serious now. I just try go out there and be an example."

One of the motivations to make the jump to the NBA for Demar was to get the best care for his mother who suffers from Lupus. If you have read this blog for any amount of time you may be aware that I look after my mother who is disabled. So when I became aware that Demar was in part looking to do this for his mother it really touched me. So I thought I would ask how his mother and his family feels about all of this.

Demar DeRozan-" She feels great and my whole family feels great. I had a opportunity to put my family in a great position. To help my mother out especially and at the same time do what I love doing."

That is something that I can understand and relate to. Not the money part but the part about being able to care for your mom and still do what you love to do. It is probably why I am pulling personally for Demar to be a success. Jay Triano had some thoughts on Demar progress after the scrimmage in Ottawa on how he had done. When asked if he was happy about the progression of his first round pick here is what he had to say.

Jay Triano-" Yup, he had some rough days but I think that is natural for anybody in their first NBA training camp. The ability that he has to get to the basket at times was taken away in a lot of our practices. But he seemed to find his way to the basket today which is good. He is going to learn. Consistency is going to be the big thing with him, consistent work ethic and consistent effort on the floor every time he is out there."

It is going to be a process for sure. One of the things that people liked about Demar is that at USC he continued to improve to the point he was the MVP of the Pac-10 tournament. It is clear that he wants to learn and has high goals of to not just be good but great. Jack Armstrong likes the expression crawl, walk and run. That is going to be the process for Demar to reach the levels he desires. He is a real student of the game of basketball.

I like the nickname "Heir Canada" that someone suggested for Demar back in the summer. He has a chance to be that next one and has skills that remind you of "Air Canada" aka Vince Carter. However he seems much more humble and grounded in the quest to get there. DeRozan for me is much more like a Chris Bosh when he started his NBA Career. Chris was very low key when he first came on the scene. He like Demar had just one year of college and came to the NBA with a lot of expectations. If Demar can have any kind of success to be compared to Bosh and Carter moving forward he will be doing very well for himself.

Saturday was his first experience in front of a bunch of crazy Raptor fans. I asked after the game in the post game scrum what he thought about all of the crazy passionate fans in Ottawa and the experience of playing in front of them for the first time.

Demar DeRozan- " It's great, it is fun. That is what makes me love basketball so much. How you can effect so many people who just want to go out and see you play...you can't beat that. "

Here is hoping there is a lot of fun, learning and growing ahead for Demar Derozan. He has the tools and the right attitude it would seem to be a success. Each day he will try and take steps to claim the crown of NBA stardom. It is what makes the whole "Heir Canada" thing seem to fit for me. However whatever nickname he ends up with it is all going to be about improving and growing on his quest to be a great player in the NBA. I know I personally wish him all the best and good luck in that quest. If you ever have the chance to meet him I hope you will walk away as impressed by him as I was. He is a great young man that wants to do great things.


  1. Great interview... I'm also very impressed with his demeanor. He really seems mature beyond his years.

  2. Great work James. Thank you for doing this.