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Friday's Workouts: The Forwards

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After bringing in three big men on Thursday, the Raptors continue to work out potential draftees. The Raptors are bringing in four senior forwards for workouts on Friday.

Thursday, the Raptors brought in three players: Boston College C Nate Doornekamp, Paris Racing C Robert Rothbart and Georgia Tech C Luke Schenscher.

Read the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun recaps here.

Here’s Raptorshq.com’s breakdown of Friday's four prospects:

RYAN GOMES
Who is he? 6-8, 250 pound senior forward from Providence. Gomes flirted with the 2004 draft but decided to head back for his senior season.

Last Year: Averaged 21.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 31 games with Providence. Had 37 points and 8 rebounds in a February loss against Connecticut.

What Can He Do? Gomes is a solid all-around player. He dramatically improved his outside shooting over his final two seasons at Providence. He did not make a three-point shot in his first two seasons. In his senior season, he hit 38% of his 137 three-point attempts.

While he is a fairly big body, he does tend to float on the perimeter at times. While he can hit the outside shot now, he’ll need to improve his quickness to play in the NBA.

Gomes is a solid rebounder and an underrated passer. His defense was nothing spectacular in college and, if he ends up at small forward in the pros, he’ll need to prove he’s quick enough to guard them.

The Bottom Line: Gomes could be a player whose stock is hurt by the large number of early entrants to the 2005 draft. As workouts begin, he’s a late first-rounder, early second-round, prospect. Scouts like his versatility but are concerned with his quickness. Depending on how they use their first two picks, Gomes would be a good get for the Raptors with their first second round pick.

JUAN MENDEZ
Who is he? 6-8, 245 pound senior forward from Niagara.

Last Year: Averaged 23.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in 30 games for Niagara. Had 39 points and 13 rebounds against Canisius in February.

What Can He Do? Mendez showed in college that he could score with the best of them. While some of that can be attributed to Niagara’s style of play, there is no question that Mendez knows his way around the hoop. He also has a steadily-improving perimeter game. Much like Ryan Gomes, he did not hit a three-pointer in his first two season. Last year, he converted 30.5% of his 128 attempts.

He has a lot of strength and that, combined with his leaping ability, enables him to be an effective rebounder. He does, however, come with questions defensively and as a passer. He will need to improve in those areas to play at the next level.

The Bottom Line: One of the main issues with Mendez is that he is a tweener. He’s too small to play 4 and he’s not quick enough to play 3. He was not a consistent perimeter defender at Niagara and that won’t translate well to the Association.

Mendez is on the second round bubble and might be available at 58 for the Raptors. Unlike fellow Canadian Carl English, Mendez might be worth the draft choice from both a basketball and a public relations standpoint.

LAWRENCE ROBERTS
Who is he? 6-9, 240 pound forward from Mississippi State. Played his first two years at Baylor before transferring before the 2003-04 season. Flirted with the idea of entering the draft after his junior season but backed out after determining he might not be a first round pick.

Last Year: Averaged 16.9 points and 11.0 rebounds in 32 games with Mississippi State.

What Can He Do? Roberts proved in his two years with Mississippi State that he was one of the best low-post scorers in the nation. He showed a bevy of post moves and displayed quickness and great hands in the post. His range is improving but you wouldn’t confuse him with Dirk Nowitzki. He also showed a strong ability to pass out of double teams and find the open man.

Defensively, he is decent as a post defender but will never be confused for Andrei Kirilenko as a shot-blocker. He’ll need to improve his ball-handling and his shooting range to compete in the NBA.

The Bottom Line: It appears that Roberts may have done his draft stock a disservice by coming back for his senior season. He was on the first-round bubble when he announced his decision to come back for his senior season.

Unfortunately for Roberts, his senior season did not live up to expectations. His numbers were basically the same as his junior season and he did not improve his weaknesses enough to make NBA scouts take notice.

He could be a decent rotation player for an NBA team someday, provided that he improves his weaknesses. The problem is, he doesn’t have one exceptional skill that bench players often require to forge out a career in the Association. He’s a second rounder talent, barring exceptional workouts, and could be a decent get at 58.

WAYNE SIMIEN
Who is he? 6-8, 255 pound senior forward from Kansas.

Last Year: Averaged 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds in 26 games with the Jayhawks. Had a 25 point, 20 rebound game against Kansas State in March.

What Can He Do? He was one of the best scorers in the nation over the past few years. He is very strong around the hoop and is a very solid dunker. However, he’ll need to work on his post moves to succeed in the NBA. His range doesn’t extend much beyond 10-12 feet either. He is a very good rebounder and that is due to his strength, leaping ability and excellent positioning. Simien is a consistent defender and is not prone to getting into foul trouble. He is a serviceable passer and shot-blocker.

The Bottom Line: It is conceivable that if North Carolina and Kansas had switched their 2005 tournament runs that Simien would be talked about as a late lottery pick. The biggest question teams have about Simien is his durability. He missed a lot of games over his college career. Is he big enough to play 4 in the Association? That’s what the workouts will decide. He projects as a mid-to-late first round pick. If he works out well for the Raptors, they might have a long look at him at 16. He’ll probably be gone by the time they pick in the second round.

- Jeff Chapman