1/17/11

Demar DeRozan Weighs In On Fouls, Dunks and Fans

Before the Raptors took off on their current road trip had a chance to catch up with Demar DeRozan prior to the match-up with the Pistons. DeRozan has been stepping up his game in terms of scoring in the last month or so. But imagine how much more it would be if he was getting all the calls he probably deserves. Raptor fans have been frustrated by it and so has Demar. When asked about the topic DeRozan said " Yeah it is definitely frustrating at times. You just got play through it. I can't let it get me down, can't look at it in a negative way you just gotta keep going." You often hear that the NBA is a star driven league and a foul Kobe Bryant will get is probably one that Demar might not get. There is a thought that you have to earn the respect of the refs. To earn your stripes to a degree. DeRozan seems to agree that eventually the calls will come his way and he can earn those stripes. "You could say it is, eventually I will get the respect going to the basket after awhile." But DeRozan is a tough kid that comes from a tough place in Compton,California, and in coming from that place it has developed a toughness in his game. On how growing up in L.A and that toughness it has developed here is DeRozan's take on it," Just being physical and I have always liked getting to the basket and being physical ". There is a toughness in him that for me makes him almost the Anti-Vince Carter. He has a long way to get his skills on par with Carter. However he already has showed more toughness in his brief Raptor career than Carter ever did.

Change of topics as we move the conversation to All Star Weekend which is in L.A his hometown. Something that I had forgot about but clearly Demar has it mentally noted. The fact he was left out of this year's dunk contest likely was a disappointment. But I had to ask how he felt he would stack up against the field they have assembled including Blake Griffin. DeRozan take on it "I don't know. Just knowing that I am not in it. I just don't think to much about dunks and everything. But you never know if I was in it something would probably come to mind." Demar may not get to go vs Griffin in the dunk contest but he could get to show his stuff in the Rookie vs Sophomore game on Friday night. The opportunity to play in that game excites Demar just based on the location of the game alone. Demar on the prospects of being in that game "That would definitely be fun. Especially in front of the home crowd". There have been a few All-Star Games in L.A over the years. Demar said he had never been to one but always was watching on T.V. He said on this upcoming game in February " Hopefully I will be a part of it some how". It would be a great thrill for the young man and you could hear that in his voice. Toronto would also love the chance to host one of this games at some point and hopefully Demar would be a part of that if it ever came to be. Short of participating in this game in L.A it would probably be the next best thing. The ultimate dream for both him and Raptor fans would be to see him in the game itself on Sunday.

The Young Onez recently had an event at St Louis Wings where Demar, Sonny and Amir took on fans at X-box. There was also the Raptors Red Party the night before. Demar said he had a great time at both those events and enjoyed interacting with the fans and getting to hang out with the team in that environment. His goals for the 2nd half of the season are pretty simple, just to get more wins and try and get the Raptors in the playoff hunt. Might not be realistic at this point but don't tell that to the players they still have faith and hope to get it done. Which is what you want to hear. I thanked Demar for taking time to talk with me. Demar has been here the same amount of time that I have had access to the team so both of us have grown in what we do. It might not have been the most professional thing to do on my part but I decided to do it anyway. I recently got a blackberry and it happens to be the same as his I noticed. So after thanking him for his time, I showed him my blackberry and the background picture is him dunking vs the Wizards last season. He got a smile from that. It was suppose to be the logo for the blog but that didn't fit. I have always enjoyed Demar and while still staying objective about it can't help but root for him as well. He is a nice young man that really wants to succeed and hopeful with hard work he will.

In terms of myself in my second year of covering the team. I really feel comfortable in the locker room and it is nice that some of the players are starting to get to know me as well. It is not like were going hanging out or anything it is work for them and work for me. But still it feels good to have the unique chance to get to know these guys on a small level. It definitely has an impact on your outlook. It is very easy to take shots at people you have never met. But when you do know them it makes you take that time think be for you shoot your mouth off.

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