DeRozan's pumped about defence

DeMar DeRozan. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

DeMar DeRozan. (JACK BOLAND/QMI Agency)

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:23 PM ET

DeMar DeRozan has carved out a reputation as one of the NBA’s up-and-coming young scoring stars, but it is defence that is on his mind ahead of the 2011-12 season.

DeRozan, who met with the media on Wednesday after taking to the court just hours after arriving in Toronto from California, said he is eager to get working under a revamped defensive system.

“I love it,” said DeRozan, who averaged 17.2 points per game in his sophomore season — including 23.1 per in eight April contests.

Though new head coach Dwane Casey, the architect of Dallas’ title-winning defence is not yet allowed to meet with his new charges, DeRozan knows what to expect.

“I can’t wait to learn the system, see the schemes that he’s got going on. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity for us and I think it’s going to be fun.”

That’s not to say the noted gym rat isn’t also looking forward to showing off his new offensive wrinkles, even against opposing defences that will now make stopping him a primary objective.

“I had to deal with (defences focusing on me) in high school, I had to deal with it in college, I’ve just got to prepare myself,” DeRozan said.

“I worked extremely hard this summer for whatever comes my way.”

HARD ROAD AHEAD

The Raptors will play 19 times in January and 17-of-26 games to open the 2011-12 marathon will be on the road.

But, the thought of going through that tough slog isn’t getting either Ed Davis or DeMar DeRozan down.

“I think (the compacted 66-game season) is going to be good for us, everybody wants to play, we’re a young team,” DeRozan said on Wednesday morning.

Though DeRozan is only 22, he intends to be a leader and to help keep his teammates on track.

“We’ve got to stay focused, you’ve got to understand what’s ahead of you, you’ve just got to be prepared for it … stay on each others’ back,” he said.

“We’ve just got to be ready as quickly as possible,” added Davis.

“Do the little things from sleeping well to eating right.”

Davis said he tried to get stronger and quicker in the off-season and will not be playing with the knee brace he wore during his rookie campaign.


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