This doesn’t happen often: an American is really excited about playing for the Toronto Raptors. Yes, you can queue the, ‘So, now it’s inevitable he’ll get great and leave’ jokes. In a city where it seems every great Raptor player wants out (see: Carter, McGrady, possibly Bosh, and to a lesser degree of great, Damon Stoudamire and Antonio Davis), it’s promising to see a draft prospect really jacked about packing his passport. DeMar DeRozan appears to have been told that he can earn as many minutes on the floor as he wants because there is no one on the current roster that plays his position. DeRozan can fly and lives to attack the rim – something Toronto fans have grown accustom to not having. As both a Raptor and Twitter fan, I was following the tweets during the draft and saw this a while after DeRozan was drafted by Toronto: “DeMar_DeRozan – Toronto here I come. Air Canada’s back.” DeRozan, all 19 years of him, already has bold aspirations of replacing the best Raptor in their young history, Vince Carter. Gotta love the swagger and attitude, another attribute the Raptors lack. DeRozan joined The Fan 590 in Toronto to discuss if he knew the Raps were drafting him, what he learned from his workout with Kobe, and what he took away from Tim Floyd’s teachings.
When Toronto was on the clock at the 9 spot, did you think they were taking you?
“Oh, definitely. I was 100% confident because I think this is the best situation for me to be in, in the best city. Especially getting back to that promised land, getting back to the playoffs, it’s the best opportunity.”
What did you take from your workout with Kobe Bryant?
“You get to see his killer instinct. To see a great player like that, you see how he approaches the game just like how he approaches a workout. Little things like that you take from it, and insert it in your own game so you can get better. You get that mindset and you’ll be on top of it, so that’s definitely one thing I took from him.”
What did playing under Tim Floyd at USC do for you?
“Playing with Tim Floyd, he coached in the league (NBA), so he prepared me a lot. He showed me preparation, just preparing for every single game, and that’s what made me get better game after game, because I knew what I was going up against and I knew what I was getting ready for. Especially going up against teams like UCLA, you got to be prepared, and I felt I was fully prepared for stuff like that, especially playing under Tim Floyd.”
What do you bring to the table every night? What can Raptor fans expect from you?
“Just winning, man, just that desire to win, and a desire to bring that intensity back to the city. Get ‘em back on their feet.”
What has head coach Jay Triano expressed as his objectives for you?
“He just wants me to come in and be a big impact. Just come in and give it my all – I got an opportunity to do a lot, so I’m gonna come in here and do everything I can.”