One of the tough things about covering player workouts without actually being there, is misinformation. Unfortunately press passes haven't been made readily available to us here at the HQ at this point and at times we have to rely on second or even third-hand reports of workouts or local media. Therefore sometimes workout reports we completed and had ready to be posted get scrapped at the last minute because we discover changes in terms of the players in attendance or new additions to the workout roster.
As an example of this, Thursday apparently had other free agents in attendance working out along with Jay Williams. One of the names that stuck out was former Duke point guard William Avery making his participation along with that of Jay Williams a bit of a Duke point guard reunion. Avery of course left Duke early and while drafted, was obviously not ready to play at the next level and would have been wise to heed Coach K's advice and not follow Elton Brand and Corey Maggette into that year's draft.
Friday's workout was yet another example as in addition to the four players we profiled, James White and Taj Gray also showed up to make for some interesting three-on-three action. Gray was actually in Toronto for a late May workout but suffered an injury and did not get to properly show the Raps staff what he could do.
From reports after the workout, James White continued his impressive workout tour, especially in terms of pure athletic ability. He also shot the ball better than expected and it's looking more and more like he may not even be available to the Raptors at the 35th pick at this point.
Canadian Jermaine Bucknor showed the exact skills we discussed and was a pleasant surprise showing his versatility guarding various positions successfully.
Click here to hear interviews with various workout participants from yesterday along with feedback from the Raptors' Jim Kelly.
As an aside, I have to say how happy I am that Jim Kelly is back in the fold as part of the Raps' draft process. I always thought Kelly was a good evaluator of talent based on the Raptors' past drafts and was very professional in terms dealing with the media and public.
The pre-draft camp in Orlando gets underway this week and we'll be keeping an eye on it and any private workouts that take place. We'll also be extremely interested in how a few players perform in a competitive five-on-five setting as opposed to in individual or two-on-two sessions. Some prospects will obviously only be at the camp for the physical testing portions while other European prospects such as Andrea Bargnani may not be in attendance at all due to overseas tournament play.
Finally, while me mentioned him earlier in this writeup, here's our full profile on James White...
Who is he? 6-7 Senior guard/forward from Cincinnati.
Last Year: Averaged 16.3 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 steals for the Bearcats. Team scoring leader (15.9) who has reached double figures in all but four games. Topped the 1,000-point mark in career scoring with 1,209 points.
What Can He do? An explosive scorer and streaky shooter, White is one of this draft's sky-walkers. Besides numerous dunk competition titles throughout his career, White is also an excellent distributor for his size, has great form on his shot and a great turn-around jumper. His quickness and wingspan make him a good perimeter defender with the potential to be real stopper at the next level. He's still quite raw however and is more of an athlete than basketball player at this point. He also has had a tough time bulking up, something he'll need to do at the next level to man a guard spot.
Bottom Line: Of the players the Raptors have brought in so far as possible second round options, White is my top choice at that 35 spot provided no obvious first round picks fall to them there. The Raps are going to have to make a decision on Mo Pete and Joey Graham soon and White could be a great backup option as he contributes in a number of ways on the court. He's got all the first-round talent in the world but has never been really able to put it together and some have blamed the Cincinnati system for containing him to a certain degree. Others wonder if he'll ever get to that "next level" of play but so far White has perhaps been the most talked about player in workouts and I think would be a steal for the Raps at 35. His athleticism would be a welcome addition on the perimeter and he is well-groomed defensively coming from the Bearcat system. At worst he could be a Maurice Evans athletic stopper off the bench, something this team is going to need as they continue to build. At best, he gives fans at the ACC regular shows like this and this.