In our continued efforts to provide Raptors fans with maximum team coverage, we here at Raptorshq present Media Watch; our regular survey of the media examining all articles, excerpts and other media information relating to the team.
For July 9, 2005
The Toronto Raptors Brass got its first look at the newest Raptors Friday night during the Raptors 118-117 overtime win over the Dallas Mavericks' summer league squad. The game's big star was Charlie Villanueva who had 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists. The Raptors other first round pick, Joey Graham, was plagued by foul trouble in the first half but played better in the second half ending up with 12 points. Villanueva was a force on offence hitting 10 of his 17 shots and dealt out the game tying assist for a Pape Sow dunk with 1.4 seconds left in the game. While this is by no means the NBA regular season, Villanueva's debut had to have left Raps GM Rob Babcock feeling pretty good.
The Toronto Sun presents us with an interesting article on Olu Famutimi, the Toronto native who left the University of Arkansas after 2 seasons to declare for the NBA Draft. While he went undrafted, he finds himself on the Raps summer league squad and hopes to crack the league next season. On a team seeking some help at the shooting guard spot, he may indeed have a shot.
Perhaps ESPN is regretting putting Screamin' Steven A. Smith at the draft. Or maybe they're starting to realize after seeing the 3 headed monster of Antonio McDyess, Ben and Rasheed Wallace in this year's finals, that the Raptors may have something in a Chris Bosh/Charlie Villanueva combo. In either event, ESPN.com appears to be softening their draft night stance and has had a few articles on Villanueva lately, including this article discussing Charlie V's "upside potential" and an interesting account of him dunking on former teammate Emeka Okafor in practice in his freshman season.
Finally, the Toronto Sun continues their excellent recent Raptors coverage by bringing us two articles sure to bring a smile to Raptors fans' faces. First of all it appears that Chris Bosh is quite pleased with Babcock's draft manoevers and joined the draft picks and prospects earlier this week in practice. While Bosh did not partake in any scrimmages, he did have many great things to say about this year's draft picks, in particular Charlie Villanueva who he believes will soon be proving his critics wrong. From a fan's perspective it's great to see Bosh so vocally supportive of the picks, not to mention getting down and dirty and practicing in the summers with them. This of course is in direct contradicion to our last "franchise player's" views of what he should do with his summer time...
The second article takes a look at raptorshq favourite, Omar Cook. Cook's play towards the end of last season and offseason work has made coach Sam Mitchell a real believer in the young point guard and it looks like Cook, barring a horrendous summer league, will find his way to Raptors Training Camp come the fall.
In free agency news, things have been fairly quiet so far. The Raptors are obviously focussed on re-signing their own players in Matt Bonner and Pape Sow. With the mid-level exception to spend, it seems that a deal should be within reach. The one strong rumour outside of these two players is that the Raptors, with only Rafer Alston guaranteed back next year in the point guard role, have a strong interest in former Vancouver Grizzly draft pick Antonio Daniels. The reality however is that spending money on Daniels will depend on what the Raptors dole out for Bonner and Sow.
Speaking of Pape, how can you not love this guy? In the age of the "me-first" athlete, not only did Pape stay in Toronto all summer to workout and improve his game, but he's also playing in the Summer League with no guaranteed contract! Sow simply told his agent to "take care of it" while he would concentrate on improving his game. Now that's music to Raps fans' ears.