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Catching up with DeMar DeRozan

June 24, 2009 |  5:43 pm

NEW YORK -- Didn't have the chance to see DeMar DeRozan of USC play in person since he was putting the hurt on Tennessee Martin all those months ago, in late November.

Too bad nothing has happened since then.

Kidding aside, DeRozan could go in the top 10, maybe even higher in this most curious of NBA drafts. Which meant he was included in pre-draft media availability at the Westin on Wednesday. Unlike many of his colleagues, DeRozan seemed to enjoy the exercise. We won't say who was doing the yawning at another table nearby.

On deciding to leave USC:

"I went back and forth. I was up and down. It was really mixed feelings at the end of the process. I sat down with Tim Floyd and he really helped me out and gave me feedback from the NBA, 'Do what's best for you. Whatever you do, I'm going to support you 100%.' "

On how long he thinks USC will take to rebuild:

"I think they should be fine. That's a big-time program. They're going to bounce back. A lot of players want to go there and a lot of players would love to play under Kevin O'Neill. Just like I did, there's going to be a lot of players that want to go there to rebuild the program."

On his defense:

"That's something I really took pride in under Tim Floyd. He really helped me out in understanding how to play defense and really lock down your defender.... At this position, you're playing against LeBron (James), Kobe (Bryant), Tracy McGrady, Vince Carter. Players, night after night, you really have to be prepared for. You really have to understand to play defense."

On what will go through his mind when his name is called:

"Relief, I'm going to be happy. Two and a half months paid off."

-- Lisa Dillman

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