The Raptors 905 have begun their inaugural season with an 0-3 record after losing last night to the Maine Red Claws in a close 109-105 battle. Last night was the new team's home opener and fan excitement--such as it is for D-League basketball--was running at an all-time high.
While most of the attention for the 905 is directed at Raptors prospect Bruno Caboclo, it turns out the most eye-catching Brazilian on the team may be Lucas Nogueira, or the man they call Bebe. Let's watch!
Now, if you've spent any time even remotely in the vicinity of Bebe, you'll quickly learn that he stands out. Yes, there's the fact that he's seven feet tall. Then there's that Sideshow Bob-esque hair. But what actually sets Bebe apart has always been his expressive personality. Before and after games he's usually there, energized. There was the time he interviewed Bruno. Or the time he explained the rules of Taco, which is essentially Brazilian street cricket, to a bunch of us. He's always been quick with an answer or an update regarding his status--in most cases, the updates have been about nagging problems with ligaments in his legs. But it looks like (hopefully) those injuries may be cleared up for now.
So, to watch these highlights and see him run the break, or throw down a dunk, or--hoo boy--spin some remarkably awesome passes, is truly a delight. (Seriously, watch that clip again; Bebe has some kind of court vision.) I realize there may never be a big role for him on the main Raptors roster. Nogueira may always been too slender, or too undisciplined, or too injury prone.
But you watch clips like this and it's hard not to wonder: Why not?