by Justin Walsh
You walk into the gym. You hear basketballs slamming against the hardwood, dropping off the backboard, rotating through the net…Then, fresh from nowhere, a blur flies by you. The rim shakes. The ball is hurled through the nylons. Your face has sweat on it. Just a regular, run-of-the-mill T-Bag, courtesy of the most vicious high-flying shooting guard in the nation.
Demar Derozan has taken basketball by force. From summers spent leading Romeo Miller’s AAU team, P-Miller Ballers to ascending his best friend’s star status with a win at the McDonalds All-American Dunk Contest, much has been speculated about the down-to-earth shooting guard. One myth is Demar only possesses the 40+-inch vertical, and is not blessed with other basketball skills; the truth is Demar is the most complete player in the ’08 Class.
He has a spin move through congested traffic that rivals Manu Ginobili’s own handy-work. His range has developed near to near NBA range in competition play, and recently dropped 40 points on 14-25 shooting, 12-13 from the line, 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in his last game at the Nike Say No Classic (A summer tourney with D1 players from schools such as USC, Oregon State, Nebraska, Arizona, Tennessee, California and more).
Yes, USC has lost O.J. Mayo, but why worry when you add Demar Derozan to the roster? We followed Demar, covering each game he played in the past two seasons, watching him consistently improve and distancing himself from the pack. From the first game on USC’s schedule, you will see Demar lead the team alongside Hackett and Gibson. This season shouldn’t be thought of as rebuilding, but as reloading.
Demar has been defined by many superlatives, but I think he said it best. When testing for SPARQ, he was asked to fill in the blank to “I am _____.” He didn’t say athletic, he didn’t say powerful, and he certainly didn’t say the best. Demar put it simply, “I am competitive.” A competitive obsession is something every great shooting guard has. We might be watching a future-great. Don’t blink.