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RaptorsHQ European Update

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Roko Leni Ukic

In his last game Ukic didn't even see the court against Lietuvos Rytas. In TAU's March 1 matchup against powerhouse CSKA, the outcome was the same. And against Bamberg on February 23...yep...you guessed it, goose eggs across the board.

As of now we're not sure why Roko isn't even playing but it doesn't appear to be related to his injury earlier this season or due to any other such injury concerns. Instead, this seems to be a classic Euro case of senior players getting playing time at the expense of young talent. TAU just signed former Stanford star Casey Jacobsen who has been lighting it up (as an aside, Jacobsen is a match made in heaven for the Eurogame) and it may not be until next season that Roko gets serious minutes.

Uros Slokar

Our previous updates on Slokar were pretty quiet...he simply wasn't getting enough playing time. Unfortunately this, especially of late, is still an issue. In his last game against Cibona this past Wednesday night, not only did his squad lose, but Slokar only played about two minutes and had a nice stat line of one foul, one steal, two turnovers and zero points missing the only shot he took, a three-point attempt. And unfortunately stat lines like this are still the norm for Slokar. He played only seven minutes in his previous game without scoring and less than two in his match before that.

The shame is that when he DOES get time, he really contributes in all areas. In Benetton's February 9 match against top 16 ranked Union Olimpija Slokar actually started and played a little over 32 minutes registering a very efficient 11 points, (on four of six shooting) six rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block. And right after we released our last European update in February, Slokar went off for his squad as he pasted 20 points on AEK leading his squad in scoring along with former Maryland Terrapin Drew Nicholas. Slokar also added eight rebounds and four steals in just 20 minutes of playing time and maybe more impressive was the fact that Uros hit eight of his nine shots from the floor!

So given Slokar's play in those two early February matchs, what explains his lack of playing time of late? Interestingly, the development of one of the potential top picks in this year's draft, his teammate Andrea Bargnani, may indeed be hampering Slokar. Both have similar games in that they are power forwards who possess sweet outside shooting touches and have drawn comparisons. However, with the way Bargnani's been tearing up the Euroleague, it seems that Slokar's coach is going with the young Italian more and more.

Now that Bryan Colangelo is on board, this is another area of interest in terms of seeing what direction he and his new Raptors braintrust go with these two. Will they be left overseas for another season or two? Will they be brought into camp next fall and be given a run with the club? Or will he decide to go in an entirely different direction, not convinced of their talent, and trade their rights? I for one would like to see how they both fare in summer league play and maybe even for a stint in the NBDL next season before the team jumps to any conclusions.

FRANCHISE