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SQ Exclusive Interview With DeMar DeRozan

Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Compton’s DeMar DeRozan loves playing back home in the Drew League.

Legendary Pictures’ Straight Outta Compton has been killing it at the box office since its release. The film focuses on the rap power group NWA, originally from…well, yeah, Compton. While he might not have the same impact on the area as the likes of Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, Toronto Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan has come a long way, and continues to inspire those in his home town.

Straight out of Compton, DeRozan attended Compton High School before enrolling at the University of Southern California as a top-10 recruit. While he only spent one season at USC, he averaged 14 points and six rebounds per game and led the Men of Troy to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Ultimately, though, he and the Trojans fell in a tight game to second-seeded Michigan State, 74-69. 

From Compton High School to the NBA, DeRozan was constantly dominating oppositions and exploding for gravity defying dunks left, right and center. Seriously, this guy’s been dunking balls with utter ferocity for over a decade now and it’s as if he’s trying to bring the house down both figuratively and literally. 

His flight to the NBA hasn’t stopped his prowess for dunking one bit. That decision to go pro and forgo his remaining seasons at USC was, in fact, a hard one. DeRozan referenced the ability to care for his mother, suffering from lupus, as a major influence in his decision to go directly to the league. That being said, he was still an immense talent, and it wouldn’t take him long to show he belonged alongside the pros.

Taken ninth overall in 2009, DeRozan got off to a slow start his rookie year. He found his footing the season after, though, avoiding the cliched sophomore slump. After averaging over 17 points per contest in seasons two through four, DeRozan exploded in year five, eclipsing the 20 point mark (22.7), and making his first All-Star appearance.

He’s now added an appearance with the USA national team, and has overcome a nasty injury to deliver another playoff run for the Raptors. 

DeRozan is hungry for the new season to start, something I learned after having the chance to talk to him after his participation in Los Angeles’ Pro-Am league, “The Drew.” DeRozan was a part of M.H.P.(Most Hated Players) alongside Los Angeles Lakers guard and fellow LA native Nick Young. Following a dramatic double-overtime win, he stuck around with me to share his thoughts on The Drew and the upcoming season.

DeMar and The Most Hated Players ended up losing in The Drew championship game to James Harden and LA Unified. If you are wondering how DeRozan played in the league so close to his heart and in the depths of his old neighborhood, imagine lots of dunks, yelling and intensity. Every time DeRozan finished a dynamic dunk inside King Drew Magnet High School, “Straight Outta Compton” by NWA would blare from the speakers. 

DeRozan is entering the final year of his contract, has a player option for next year and remains an elite two-way shooting guard in the NBA. His time in Toronto could be running out, but what will not run out is his impact on this area, along with his passion for his hometown. 

Edited by Emily Berman, Ken Barker, Coleman Gray.

Where did DeMar Derozan attend college?
Created 8/15/15
  1. USC
  2. UCLA
  3. Cal
  4. Arizona

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