A day before getting a chance to introduce himself to an international audience, Raptors rookie Terrence Ross admitted he was a tad nervous.
“A little bit. All this media and all the players (all-stars) showing up, I’m just trying to settle in,” Ross said on Friday afternoon.
Was Ross also feeling pressure from past Raptor performances, particularly Vince Carter’s back in 2000?
“Yeah,” Ross said with a laugh, “especially with Vince.”
But gradually, as the media peppered him with the same questions over and over again, Ross indeed settled in and excitedly talked about his preparations for Saturday’s slam dunk contest.
Ross said he would not be using any props like a car, unlike Blake Griffin two years ago, when the Clippers’ star beat the more deserving DeMar DeRozan thanks to gimmickry.
“No props, all athleticism,” Ross said.
DeRozan, a two-time participant, has been giving Ross advice, along with Rudy Gay, another former competitor at the event.
But Ross didn’t bring along any other Raptor to help him out, instead, wisely opting for childhood pal Terrence Jones. Why was it wise? Well, not only is Jones extremely familiar with Ross, which could result in some stellar alley-oops, but he also plays for the Rockets and should give Ross a bit of a hometown boost and buzz from the Toyota Center crowd. In a contest like this, that will help.
Ross and Jones practised for 45 minutes on Thursday.
On Friday, Ross said he was ready.
Though he initially told the Toronto Sun back in November that he didn’t plan on entering the contest, he eventually changed his mind after pressure from teammates and a huge social media push.
Now, after devouring YouTube clips and “constantly watching footage” of past contests, Ross said he’s ready to mix “old-school and new-school” dunks.
Raptors' Ross ready to put on a show
Toronto Sun | Feb 16