Frank Zicarelli of the Toronto Sun reports:

Feb. 12, 2010 - Dallas, China - (100213) -- DALLAS, Feb. 13, 2010 (Xinhua) -- Toronto Raptors' player DeMar DeRozan performs during half time of the NBA All-Star Rookie Challenge in Dallas Feb. 12, 2010. The rookies beat second-year players 140-128. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun.

DeMar DeRozan appears ready to assume the popularity mantle, an athletic player who will be given a chance to emerge as the face of the franchise.

In time, the kid has to learn how to handle the ball better, make better decisions when the ball is in his hands and step out to make jumpers.

But at this moment in the Raptors’ changing of the guard, DeRozan is the team’s most popular player, a guy the club uses on most of its promotional material.

In the team’s first public appearance, under a backdrop of an open scrimmage here at the University of British Columbia, DeRozan received the loudest ovation.

When the flushed home an alley-oop feed into a dunk, the crowd reacted in a fashion that evoked images of Carter.

When the Raptors made DeRozan a lottery selection last spring, comparisons were made to Carter from an athletic perspective.

DeRozan isn’t quite able to put the ball on the floor and flat-out attack a defence and the rim, but he’s getting better.

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