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RaptorsHQ European Update

Before we get to any outstanding individual play, let's take a quick look at how the Raptors' Roko Leni Ukic and Uros Slokar have fared these past few weeks.

Uros Slokar

In the past few weeks Slokar has been up to his old "I'm not getting consistent playing time" tricks again. In Benetton's March 15 match against Efes Pilsen Istanbul, Slokar registered seven points, four rebounds and three steals in 15 minutes. However this past Wednesday, Slokar played only slightly over five minutes resulting in four points and a rebound. As the season has progressed it's quite obvious that possible first-round draft pick Andrea Bargnani is getting the majority of minutes at Slokar's position. As a result, Slokar has been relegated to coming off the bench and has really seen unpredictable minutes from game to game. The question therefore is if Bargnani gets drafted and plays in the NBA next season, will Slokar than finally get the consistent playing time he needs? And will new Raptors' management leave him overseas at all? More to come for sure...

Roko Leni Ukic

While Roko's TAU squad has been climbing up the Euroleague standings, Roko's minutes have also been on the upswing. After injuries and health concerns earlier this season Roko is starting to see some meaningful playing time and even started in this past Wednesday night's game match versus CSKA. Roko played a little over 15 minutes and while had little to show for it on the scorecard, (no points, one assist) it was encouraging to see him get meaningful playing time for the second game in a row. In TAU's previous game on March 15 against GHP Bamberg, Roko played almost 15 minutes again scoring five points and dropping one assist. Once again, not numbers to write home about, but none-the-less, quite encouraging considering his problems earlier this season. Raptors management will have to make a decision on Roko as well in terms of leaving him overseas. With TAU competing for top spot in their grouping, (Group F) the club has gone with more experienced play at the point using Pablo Prigioni and even former Xavier guard Lionel Chalmers. As a result, Roko, like Uros, has perhaps not had the playing time he needs to keep developing in hopes of at some point joining the Raptors.

Other Notes:

Speaking of former NCAA stars, many of the Euroleague's top scorers and players right now indeed hail from the US college system. Names like Scoonie Penn, (who is leading the league in scoring) Michael Batiste, Drew Nicholas and Tyus Edney all ring a familiar bell with basketball fans and it's encouraging to see them succeeding overseas.

In terms of prospects however the name that keeps coming up is Andrea Bargnani. Scouts are saying he's got the quickest first step to the basket that they've ever seen from someone measuring seven feet in height and his rebounding and shooting proficiency are light years ahead of his age. Apparently he's also in the process of hiring an American agent so it seems to be a foregone conclusion that he'll enter this year's draft. Some of the other players overseas looking to make the jump include prospects Rudy Fernandez, Nemanja Aleksandrov, Damir Markota, Kosta Perovic and Australian Brad Newley. It seems that Tiago Splitter is still on the fence about entering the draft as while his agent has indicated he is working on a buyout, TAU Vitoria's club president has been quoted as saying that Splitter will be back with the club next season. In any event, the decision likely won't come until after the season is over.