DeRozan's family the engine behind all-star success

Andrew Robichaud, Staff

2/12/2014 8:46:05 PM

Diar DeRozan is only nine months old, but she is already helping her NBA all-star father DeMar grow as a person and a basketball player.

The Toronto Raptors guard, who will represent the Eastern Conference at the All-Star Game in New Orleans on Sunday, says he doesn't complain in the face of adversity "because I know this little girl is just happy for anything."

"The sun's coming up, she's happy," the 24-year-old said in a sit-down with TSN's Rod Black on Tuesday.

DeRozan has not always been the fastest, strongest or most talented athlete dating back to his childhood in Compton, the one year of college he spent at USC, or his four-and-a-half years with Toronto.

But he has always worked the hardest to get where he wants to be, for his personal happiness and his family's.

"(Family) shows you what life's all about at the end of the day and that's why I work so hard," he said. "I do this for the enjoyment and the passion I have for the game and for my family. Everything else just comes with it.

"I just want to take advantage of every little moment I can, so at the end of the day when I look back I can say I laid it all out on the line and tried to be the best player I could be."

If his numbers have anything to say about it, DeRozan is at his best. He is playing at career-high levels in points per game (22.2), assists (3.9), rebounds (4.6), steals (1.2) and three-point percentage (31.1 per cent).

Whether he can fathom it or not, he's earned a place in the showcase of basketball's biggest stars.

"It's still hard to believe," he said. "It's something you always dream about it, but once you really go through it, it's hard to explain but it's a blessing."

He's also dispelled any doubt surrounding the four-year, $40 million contract extension he signed in 2012.

What hasn't changed is the humbling nature he credits to his mom and dad, Diane and Frank.

"Some people think (I'm) kidding when I say it, but I really forget I signed a contract like that. I really don't pay attention to that," he said. "As long as my family is happy and I'm doing what I love to do, everything else is just a plus," he said.

And although Diar may not know it yet, her dad is telling the truth.

"My little girl … she gets whatever she wants when it comes to me."

The Missing Piece

One thing that will be absent from the All-Star Game this weekend is DeRozan's teammate Kyle Lowry.

Lowry, who was left off the reserves list, is one of the main reasons for the Raptors resurgence to the top of the Atlantic Division.

In 36 games dating back to the beginning of December, the Raptors' starting point guard is averaging 17.8 points per game on 43.6 per cent shooting to go along with 7.7 assists.

"I really wish I could've seen him make it too. I think it would've been good, not just for me, but for the whole city, just to have two guys to go out there and represent, he said. "You look at Kyle as being one of the best point guards in the Eastern Conference, by far, and I thought he should've made it."

On the other hand, DeRozan doesn't think the exclusion will be a bad thing.

"One thing about him is he's going to prove his point in the second half of the season."