Terrence Ross has become a fan favourite in Toronto and it’s for more than just what he chose to wear to the 2012 NBA Draft. While other facets of his game still need work the Raptors rookie has a knack for dunking and his high-flying capabilities have him lighting up highlight reels and garnering attention from some of basketball’s biggest stars.
Yes, Dwyane Wade is a fan, and wants Ross in the 2013 dunk contest, which will take place in Houston as a part of NBA All-Star Weekend from February 15-17.
But Ross’ biggest advocate and the one who’s lobbying to have him in the dunk competition is fellow Raptor DeMar DeRozan who of course made back-to-back appearances at the event in 2010 and 2011. Much like Ross could do this season, DeRozan made his dunk contest debut as a rookie in 2010 and nearly took home the top prize only to fall Nate Robinson in the finals.
And he’s not just a supporter of Ross, it seems DeRozan wants to be even more like a mentor to the 22-year-old Raptors guard. From the Toronto Sun:
DeRozan readily admits he took the wrong approach to the dunk contest in his first year and regrets it to this day.
“My rookie year, I was honestly nervous,” DeRozan recalls. “And my first year, I didn’t practise (at all). I didn’t do anything. I was hurt a week before (sprained ankle) and I missed something like four games (actually five) so I was like: ‘I’m not doing this.’ I wound up doing , but I didn’t work on anything. I just winged it. Now, I think about if I had worked on it and really put some thought into the dunks, I could have won it.”
And therein lies the reason he’s been getting after Ross. He doesn’t want his young teammate to make the same mistake he did and is going out of his way to make sure he doesn’t.
“ I’m telling him, first of all, just because he thinks it’s any other dunk contest and you just go out and dunk, no,” DeRozan says stressing the negative at the end. “I try to let him know that millions of people are going to be watching you. You could change how people look at you from that day on. Everything is going to be different.”
Should Ross be chosen to compete in next weekend’s festivities he would join what’s already becoming a rather lengthy list of Raptors players who’ve participated in the event, especially for a team that’s existed for less than 20 years in the NBA.
Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady became the franchise’s first two participanrs in 2000, Jamario Moon joined the list in 2008 and then of course DeRozan in 2010 and 2011. However, Carter is the only Raptor to ever come away as the winner. DeRozan, Wade and many others are hoping Ross gets his chance in 2013.
Some Terrence Ross dunk highlights:
Putback slam followed by a windmill