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Recapping the Raptors Free Agent Mini-Camp

On June 11th and 12th, the Toronto Raptors welcomed 21 players to their free-agent mini camp. Here are some of the more interesting developments.

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Consider it a opportunity to make a career-launching good impression; or in some cases, one final kick at the can.

On Thursday and Friday, the Raptors welcomed a collection of 21 players to their free-agent mini camp - an event which mainly serves as a casting call for Toronto's Summer League roster spots - as well as a method of potentially digging up a player or two worthy of a spot on the 15-man roster come October.

Those on the invitee list largely consisted D-Leaguers, hopeful of earning a promotion next season including former Ohio State defensive maven Aaron Craft, ex-Memphis Tiger guard Joe Jackson and a pair of Canadians in Khem Birch and Jordan Bachynski.

Additionally, a few guys who were once Europe-bound following their college years returned to try and belatedly realize their NBA dreams; Craft's former Buckeye teammate LaQuinton Ross included.

Four guys generated more intrigue than anyone else in the house though - and you'd be hard-pressed to find a quartet with more drastically different paths to this year's workouts.

Phil and Thomas Scrubb

Joining the camp after co-piloting Carleton University to a fifth-straight CIS title in March, twin brothers Phil and Thomas Scrubb, by all accounts, held their own with players who far surpassed their age and professional experience.

Raptors' Director of Scouting Dan Tolzman chalked up their performance at the camp to their advanced basketball wits, fostered under coach Dave Smart at Carleton:

"When you see them out there competing against guys in their mid-twenties, late-twenties and their holding their own against that, clearly if you're at the top level of the CIS you can play with anybody. I think it helps for them that they've been so well coached and so, they know the game of basketball so well to where something like this (mini-camp) isn't that difficult."

Phil Scrubb said he wasn't looking to be a hero in the two-day camp:

"I know I'm not coming in here as Kobe Bryant and going to take a bunch of shots, be the main guy on the team. I just try to come in and work as hard as I can ... I think what's good about Carleton is that as my career has gone on I've been put in many different roles so I'm fine with being a role player, just shooting the ball and being aggressive when I can ... I'm just going to play within myself.

Having been lucky enough to watch the Scrubb brothers play first-hand while going to school at Carleton, I'm particularly intrigued by how Phil's skill-set might transfer to the pro game.

While Thomas posted slightly better overall numbers on a per-40 minute basis this season than his brother (Thomas: 25.9 PTS, 11.5 REB, 5.5 AST, 50.0 3FG% / Phil: 26.3 PTS, 5.2 REB, 7.2 AST, 48.7 3FG%), Phil probably projects as the more likely of the two to carve out a role on an NBA team.

Phil shot a ludicrous 46.8 percent from long range in his Carleton career, five percent better than his brother who launched fewer attempts in his five-years in school.

More than that though, the 6-foot-5 Thomas was primarily asked to play power forward under Dave Smart while Phil, who is two inches shorter, managed the ball-handling duties on the perimeter more often than not. Thomas' lack of size would probably keep him from playing on the interior in the pros, and while very good, he's probably not the pure shooter that Phil is.

Phil is right - he's not ever going to be a creator with the ball in his hands, but with his silky smooth stroke he could pop up somewhere as a dangerous spot-up threat deep on an NBA bench.

DeAndre Daniels

Though he dominated the headlines and eventually came to capture our hearts, Bruno Caboclo wasn't the only player taken by the Raptors in the 2014 draft. DeAndre Daniels found himself selected by Toronto 37th-overall to put a cap on a season that saw him be a major contributor on the NCAA Champion UConn Huskies.

After spending last season playing for the Perth Wildcats in Australia, TSN's Josh Lewenberg reports that he's been in town for over a month working towards cracking the roster in the fall:

While he was drafted 17 spots after Caboclo, Daniels might actually be more prepared to contribute to the Raptors in a rotational role next year. At 6-foot-9, he has the size to defend both the three and four, and he even flashed an improved three-point shot in his final year at UConn, draining 41.7 percent of his shots from distance in 2013-14. He's no lock to make the team, but if he does, he should be able offer more than his Summer League pals did last year.

Tyrus Thomas

Unlike the Scrubbs, who played college ball away from the public spotlight, or Daniels who never had expectations heaped upon his shoulders by the team that drafted him, Tyrus Thomas was supposed to be - at the absolute least - a very good NBA player.

But the freakish athleticism that made him a highly-touted prospect coming out of LSU never translated into a well-rounded NBA game. Poor shooting, underwhelming rebound totals for a bouncy power forward and well-documented attitude problems saw Thomas fall so hard that even the 7-59 2011-'12 Charlotte Bobcats refused to play the former 4th-overall pick more than 19 minutes per contest.

It seems as though he's grown up, and is looking for one last chance at a sustained run in the the league:

It's hard to envision Thomas figuring into the Raptors' long-term plans, but hey, maybe we'll get some cool Summer League dunks that put Toronto on some posters in a positive way:

Toronto's free-agent mini camp probably didn't showcase any future franchise pillars, but some possibly useful role players may have made their mark on Raptors brass.