With all the turmoil that USC basketball has been through the past couple of months this is actually a time to celebrate as the NBA draft approaches on Thursday night. DeMar DeRozan is almost a sure lottery pick possibly heading to either to the NY Knicks or the Toronto Raptors. It would be neat to see DeRozan come to NYC, it would be fun to see him up close at MSG.
DeRozan will be in attendance at The Garden for the draft festivities tomorrow night.
He was bit of an enigma early in the season but he certainly made his mark and he didn't disappoint in his overall performance. He had some tough shoes to fill once OJ Mayo left for hte NBA. All that star attraction fell on him.
DeRozan has made a positive impression among the scouts and teams that he has worked out for and that looks to have gone a long way in his draft preparations. He has also played things cool by just trying to be a normal guy by not allowing all the attention to get to his head.
Last summer, DeRozan attended a junior-college tournament at the Galen Center. He could easily stroll into his home court without paying but he stopped and bought a ticket anyways.
"I told him, `DeMar, you could probably walk in without paying,' and he said, `That's OK, I don't mind,"' said Damaine Powell, the coach at Cal State Dominguez Hills.
Stories like this are easy to find for NBA teams interested in DeRozan.
DeRozan started off slow last season, vanishing in some games, leaving many fans scratching their heads about all the hype that followed DeRozan when he came to USC. But by the end of the season he was in top form leading SC to winning the Pacific Life Pac-10 tournament. That performance alone showed he step it up in a big and on the big stage. His highlight in the Pac-010 tournament was the 21 point, 13 rebound performance against ucla. He then followed that performance with a career high 25 point performance aginst ASU being named the tournamnets most .
DeRozan had a different impact on the team than did OJ Mayo. His approach to the game was to not be the savior but to be a part the bigger picture. DeRozan is seen a slasher with a strong ability to drive the bsket. He focused on his defensive skills and was eager to pass the ball off than to take the shot. DeMar has a lot of tools that will make him successful in the NBA, one of those is a solid mid-range game shooting over 50% (his 3-point shooting was below average but he averaged only one per game). Anybody can dunk the ball and there are guys who are 3-point specialists but being able to score from various spots on the floor consistently is a big deal in the NBA.
His free throw shooting needs some work though. 4.2 trips to the line hitting less than 65% of the time means there is a lot of work to be done.
DeRozan has made it clear that his time under Tim Floyd's tutlege did a lot for improving his defense.
"I think playing under Coach (Tim Floyd), I learned to enjoy defense and I know I'll always value that," DeRozan said. "Defense is not glamorous but it helps out the team."
It certainly is a big deal in the NBA and once he settles in and gets some even deeper coaching he has the potential to be one the games better two way players.
Garry Parrish offers his take...
The lone surprise there is probably DeRozan, who people keep describing as wildly inconsistent even though that's not exactly an accurate portrayal of his freshman season. Sure, he started slow, then picked it up in December and early January before dipping for a short stretch. (OK, maybe he was a little inconsistent.) But to focus on that is to miss the fact that down the stretch DeRozan was awesome, proof being how he reached double-figures in each of his final nine games.
DeRozan averaged 17.6 points in those contests.
So folks can focus on DeRozan's inconsistency if they like. But what I see when I look at DeRozan is an extremely athletic wing with tons of upside who was consistently awesome down the stretch -- awesome enough, in fact, to lead USC to an NCAA tournament appearance that seemed unlikely in February.
That's why I like him.
In five years, some franchises at the top of the lottery are going to regret passing on him.
All in all I think the one year he was here at SC was definitely to his benefit. I would have loved to seen him just one more year at SC but you just knew that his performance in the Pac-10 Tournamnet was his swan song...he showed us everything we wanted to see.
We wish him all the best as we will be rooting for him tomorrow night...