Great article on DeMar that talks about his journey to the NBA.
Talent, heart -- and some big hops -- help DeRozan soar free
Posted Jan 26 2011 7:10PM
Facing Blake Griffin several feet above his home court in the Sprite Slam Dunk Contest Feb. 19 at Staples Center figures to be daunting. But it should be nothing, really, compared to the home-court disadvantages DeMar DeRozan overcame a few miles away to get to that point.
DeMar DeRozan grew up in Compton, Calif. Tough, crime-riddled, gang-fearing, dangerous Compton. Ten square miles in the heart of Los Angeles -- Long Beach to the south, South Central L.A. to the north -- that could have been mistaken for a war zone when DeRozan and his family lived there. Sirens. Gunshots. The Crips and the Bloods never really sorting out who got next.
DeRozan grew up in Compton. Got out of Compton, too.
"I was doin' my walking and saw four or five little ol' gangsters hanging on a corner one day," Frank DeRozan, DeMar's father, said in a phone interview this week. "Probably shouldn't have said anything to them, but I did. This was when DeMar was at school at Compton High, so I said, 'Hey man, how come y'all not in school?' One li'l cat was going to pop his chest up, like 'Who you all? This don't concern you.' But two of the other guys were like, 'He's Deebo's dad.' "
"Deebo" was the nickname DeMar picked up from the tall character in the 1995 Ice Cube movie, "Friday."
"They said, 'Look, Mr. D., DeMar's not in no gangs,' " Frank DeRozan recalled. " 'He's not getting involved with this crazy stuff that we're doing. Nobody will mess with him.' Some kids, if the others know he has a future and he's interested in doing something, they get a pass in their neighborhood.
"Plus, they knew he had a crazy daddy."
Crazy in a good way. Involved. Vigilant. Unfraid of gang-bangers lurking on a corner. Frank DeRozan is 60 years old now but he still stands 6-foot-4, still has the frame (plus) that made him a "monster" in football and basketball growing up in Louisiana. He was strict with DeMar and watchful over Brandon Jennings, too, a fellow Compton resident born 47 days after DeMar. The two of them have been friends since before high school and remain so, with Jennings as the Milwaukee Bucks point guard and DeMar as the Toronto Raptors' blossoming second-year forward.
I know this is off topic, but what do you think about Harrison Barnes and his struggles this year?
I think Harrison is still a top prospect going into the draft.. I know he has been struggling but I honestly think its because of the system and coaching he is playing for. Not one player on UNC looks as good as they should have. The fact that he didn't start off strong is making him lose his confidence a bit and hes trying to overcompensate by doing stuff he shouldn't be doing (Might explain his low FG%). If he has one really solid game.. I think thats all that he needs and he will be able to turn things around. Personally, with the way he has been playing so far.. I expect to see him go around 5th overall. Which might not be a bad option for the Raptors if Kyrie Irving is already gone(We really really need to draft a PG).
Originally Posted by Chamberlain
I was literally thinking the same thing when coming into this thread
Good article, though. Always nice to see a "feel good story". DeRozan doesn't strike me as a guy who was ever involved in anything negative in his childhood/teen years.
Same as above ^^
And yeah I know what you mean. I knew he was from Compton and that his mom was sick so he put his name into the draft instead of returning to USC.. but besides that I never really knew how he got to this point. Was definitely a good read.