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Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Updated: November 18, 12:01 PM ET
RISE Above Flashback: DeMar DeRozan

By Jon Mahoney

DeMar DeRozan
DeMar DeRozan starred at USC for a year before being drafted in the first round by the Toronto Raptors.

If you're a young kid growing up in Compton, Calif., wanting to play in the NBA might seem like a fantasy. In an area teeming with gangs and violence, just getting out of the neighborhood would be viewed as an accomplishment.

DeMar DeRozan was raised in Compton but thankfully never got caught up in the streets and never lost site of his dream of one day playing in The League. Unfortunately, some kids in his neighborhood weren't so lucky.

"A lot of kids that played football and basketball with me are either dead or in jail," DeMar told us in the RISE Above that ran in the 2007 edition of Hardwood.

Thanks to tremendous support from his mother and father, DeRozan stayed out of trouble and transformed into one of the most dominating basketball players in the country. As a senior at Compton, he stuffed the stat sheet to the tune of 29.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 3.0 steals per game. He also played in both the McDonald's All-American Game and the Jordan Brand Classic.

DeRozan signed with USC and averaged 13.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest last season in a balanced offensive attack. He left USC after one year to enter the NBA draft and was selected No. 9 overall by Toronto this past June.

DeRozan is currently starting for the Raptors, a huge accomplishment for a 20-year-old who overcame his surroundings to make his a dream a reality.