October 09, 2014


LAWT Wire Services


Fresh off his Gold Medal win with the United States Basketball Team at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup in Spain, Compton High School Class of 2008 graduate


DeMar DeRozan returned to his alma mater to share his gratitude with school staff, especially his former coach and math teacher Tony Thomas.


DeRozan, who also plays professionally for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors, shared why he believes Compton schools helped him to become successful.


DeRozan said he never forgets the importance of being a role model to others, especially for students at Compton High School.


“I want to be a good example for the kids here.  That’s why I come back whenever I can so I can tell them I was in the same position as them when I was in high school,” he said.  “Academics played a big part too.  It takes discipline to understand that you got to do what’s necessary.  When I was at Compton High, I had to get my schoolwork done before I could play basketball.”


The Toronto Raptors shooting guard, who also previously played for USC, pointed out that much of his success is owed to his teachers. “The teachers here supported me with everything I did.  They wanted to see me accomplish my goals and with their support they made it easier,” he said. “I am the person I am today because of the Compton Unified School District.  I learned through its schools and learned what it means to be a man here.  That’s why I’ll always come back.”


For DeRozan, his former coach and math instructor, Tony Thomas, was one of the teachers who made the biggest impact in his life.  “Coach Tony’s math class was my favorite.  I credit a lot of my success to him.


He gave me the confidence, on and off the court, to be the person I am today.  That’s why whenever he needs me I try my best to be available when I can.  He tutored me when I didn’t understand what I was learning.  He really stayed on my case to make sure I was doing what I was supposed to do.”


Coach Thomas said he is proud of DeRozan and all of his accomplishments.  “I wanted to make sure he had a good foundation because I knew he’d go to college one day.  He had so much going on at the time, so I had to make sure he was getting his grades up to get to there.  He did everything I asked him to do,” he noted.  “He was a solid student.  He knew he had a lot to work on, but he put in the effort.”

Category: Sports