DeRozan Continues To Build World Cup Case
Holly MacKenzie - Raptors.com
Another opportunity, another impressive performance. As DeMar DeRozan continues auditioning for a roster spot with USA Basketball, he gives the coaching staff plenty to think about whenever he sees the floor.
After serving as the team’s leading scorer in the scrimmage held in Las Vegas three weeks ago, DeRozan didn’t receive any playing time in a USA exhibition game against Brazil. Rather than allowing it to get him down, he made the most of his 23 minutes in Wednesday night’s 105-62 exhibition victory against the Dominican Republic.
Francisco Garcia and James Feldeine led the Dominican Republic with 14 points apiece.
DeRozan discussed the meaning of this opportunity during Team USA’s July training camp in Vegas.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “It’s a big deal for me because I kind of represent my country and the country of Canada. I get to show off the two countries that root for me. It’s always fun just to be mentioned in a pool of players that are able to make your country’s team and represent them. It’s a great honour.”
Coming off the bench on Wednesday night, DeRozan scored a team-high 13 points for Team USA. He shot 6-for-9 from the floor, made his only three-point attempt, and, perhaps most impressively, added six assists, five rebounds and a steal with just one turnover. Former Raptor and recent Team USA addition Rudy Gay matched DeRozan’s point total.
Gay was added to the talent pool after Kevin Durant dropped out, citing fatigue. The loss of Durant came just days after Paul George’s devastating leg injury during the team’s scrimmage at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Although the scrimmage was — rightfully — cut short after George’s injury, DeRozan starred in the scrimmage, scoring a game-high 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting. Coupled with his performance at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday night, he has proven himself a worthy candidate to make the squad.
Whether DeRozan makes it through final cuts or not, he has put in a performance to be proud of and will be able to look back without any regret.
Watch highlights of DeRozan's performance on Wednesday below.