As the new school year approaches, we're rewinding things with Back to School Week! This week, we'll take a look back at the amateur years of some of the biggest stars to suit up for the Raptors or hail from Canada. First up was Kawhi Leonard.
DeMar DeRozan was making opponents look silly long before he was in the NBA.
Following four years at Compton High School, DeRozan was ranked as the best shooting guard in the United States, the second-best prospect in the state of California and the third-best prospect in the nation by Rivals.com. With Byron Mullens and Jrue Holiday being the only players ranked ahead of him, it's no surprise that DeRozan received scholarship offers from six well-known schools: Washington, UCLA, Florida State, California, Arizona State and USC, the latter being the place he called home for his one collegiate season.
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A lot of what makes DeRozan one of the best players in the NBA now is what made him a can't-miss recruit coming out of high school. As Rodger Bohn of Draft Express wrote in 2007, he was a complete scorer who did his best work from midrange, where he could use his size advantage to rise up over defenders.
As far as scoring is concerned, there isn't much that he didn't show [at the LeBron James Skills Academy]. The USC recruit shot the ball from 3-point range (both off of the dribble and from a standstill), got to the rim at will and was downright money from midrange.
Oh, and DeRozan's athleticism separated him from just about everyone in the country at the time. His senior season mixtape, which has over a million views on YouTube, makes him look he was a man among boys.
To honour the player he was and the player he's become, Compton High School decided to retire DeRozan's jersey in 2015.
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"It means a lot to me to come back," DeRozan told Gazettes.com. "This school and this city made me who I am."