By Frank McLean
A quiet emerging superstar, DeMar DeRozan is flying up the charts in the Raptors records book like a hit song on the American Top 40 chart.
Sunday night in New York City DeRozan scored 27 points in a win over the Knicks and passed “Air Canada” Vince Carter for second spot on the Raptors all-time scoring list. Carter scored 9,420 points during his time in Toronto.
With 9,426 points, DeRozan trails Chris Bosh (10,275) by just 849 points for the club’s top spot on the all-time list. A mere 36 more games at his current pace.
After the game Sunday night DeRozan was very humble in talking about Carter who was someone he idolized in his younger days.
“It’s hard to believe, honestly. Someone you grew up watching, who you grew up idolizing, you get a chance to play against and now being able to pass him on the all-time scoring list, words can’t explain it.”
“To see my name move up and things like that, if it’s winning, points, whatever it may be, that’s something you may not pay attention to now, but it still could be there 10-15 years from now that somebody might not have beat yet. Something like that is big, because it goes down in history,” DeRozan added.
“I grew up watching Vince, imitating a lot of things I saw him do as a kid. He was one of the first dudes I learned from,” DeRozan said about Carter. “Being in this organization and to be able to pass him and records that he set, there’s no topping Vince, because we all had to learn from Vince. People always say, ‘you’ll be a better Raptor than Vince.’ Nah. Vince started everything and I got everything from Vince. To hear him say things like that, is obviously big for me.
DeRozan is one of the most respected players in the Raptors locker room as he is the team’s longest serving player. He is not one to fall in love with personal achievements.
It’s always team first with DeRozan, and the fact that the Raptors have set a club record for games won overall and on the road this season are more important to him.
That’s why Raptors coach Dwane Casey is very proud of a player he calls a leader.
“He represents everything you want to have to build a program around. It couldn’t happen to a better person, a better player, a better teammate, a leader.
DeRozan went on to say that it’s fun to create a legacy with the Raptors.
“Yeah, that’s what it’s all about. That’s the fun part, being able to create your own legacy now for the next generation to look back and say how I looked at Vince. Maybe a kid out there looks at me like that and maybe one day when I’m 40 like Vince, I can say, ‘I like this kid.’ You never know.”
DeRozan will pass Bosh for number one on the scoring list next season.
He is also third on the all-time list in games played at 520, five back of Jose Calderon for second and 22 back of the leader Morris Peterson. He should be number one in scoring and games played early next season.
But will he?
DeRozan can opt out of his contract at the end of the season and go for a max payday of $20 million plus next year and he of doesn’t do that you would have a scoop.
When it’s mentioned to him about opting out for free agency, DeRozan always plays coy about it.
No worries, the Raptors will do everything to keep him in the fold. He is too important in their scheme of things and by the time his Raptors career is over, DeRozan will have pretty much every record in the book.
Veteran journalist Frank McLean has covered nearly every Raptors game in Toronto since their inaugural season at the Skydome back in 1995-96. He has seen it all. The good, the bad and the really bad and he is one of the very few journalists in Toronto that has kept coming back for more.