This past year has been one of dividends for DeMar DeRozan: he was named to his first All-Star team, led the Raptors to the playoffs for the first time since being drafted, and was recently selected as a member of Team USA. DeMar has come a long way in his player development since his rookie season and people such as David Zarum over at Sportsnet have taken notice. In his recent article, Zarum interviews basketball coach and DeRozan's summer trainer since 2009, Chris Farr.
'The plan' changes every summer, after much consultation between the two, with a different skill dissected in the lab - free-throw shooting, dribbling, outside shooting, post play and so on. And every fall, DeRozan walks into Raptors training camp a markedly better player than the year before.
The trainer goes on to outline that for next season we can expect DeRozan to be a stronger passer and ball handler, as the two have been working out three to four days a week in both Los Angeles and Oakland this summer. Interestingly, rather than noting DeRozan's improved shooting or athleticism, Farr hones in on DeRozan's ability to listen as the trait that sets him apart from others. Farr explains:
Most talented athletes make it look effortless, simplistic. But he puts in the work and has a skill that some athletes don't have, regardless of their talent: the ability to listen. Used to be that it was automatic, but nowadays I consider a genuine skill. Not only does he buy in, he listens and retains information, and then executes the plan.
The rest of the article follows this thread, elaborating on DeRozan's development as a consummate professional while noting that from his limited role in Team USA exhibition games to being omitted from ESPN's projected top 10 Shooting Guards, he takes notice and uses the slights as fuel for further improvement.
As Raptors fans we have seen DeMar come a long way, from rookie to All-Star. Despite a few slights, it is nice to see him finally receive the recognition that he's worked hard to receive from the basketball world at large. That said, with his inclusion on the Team USA roster it will be good to see if some of the aforementioned work in passing and ball handling is evident as the the team heads to Spain.
What do you think Raptors fans: is Toronto's All-Star ready to take another leap forward throughout this summer experience and into the next season?