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Axel Toupane and 11 others set to make Raptors 905 roster

Here are the dozen players getting ready to call the D-League and Mississauga home.

NBA: Toronto Raptors-Media Day Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Soon to be officially announced, the Raptors 905 have named their 12-man roster for the upcoming season. The 905 had to make some tough cuts as the talent on this team was a surprise to many. After talking to a few players, the general sentiment was that they have not seen a D-League roster with this much talent in some time.

Before we get to the list, please note in the D-League a team can only dress 10 players a night, with two names reserved for the inactive roster (and three more being able to slide down from the Raptors).

Here are the 12 players who have made the Raptors 905:

Axel Toupane, SG: Toupane, arguably the best player on this 905 roster, was caught up in a numbers game in Denver which led to his release and return to the 905. With the Nuggets last season Toupane played in 21 games averaging 14.5 minutes. In that time Toupane averaged 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game while shooting 35.7 percent from the field. Toupane fared much better in the D-League last season with the 905 where he played in 32 games starting 14 of those. Toupane played an average of 29.7 minutes per game, where he averaged 14.6 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists while shooting 42.9 percent from the field.

Toupane will be the starting shooting guard on the 905 but the real question is: how long he will be in the D-League? Toupane has proven himself to be an NBA-level talent with a good chance of making another NBA team this year.

E.J. Singler, SF: Raptors fans saw Singler in limited minutes in the pre-season as well as with the Raptors in Las Vegas. During Summer League, Singler averaged 19.3 minutes while putting up 6.4 points, two rebounds and 1.4 assists per game and shooting 48 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from three. The 905 acquired E.J. last season at the trade deadline and he suited up in 10 games with the 905. With the 905, Singler averaged 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 47.5 from three.

Singler projects as the clubs starting small forward. He’s shown to be a very good shooter and also a functional, smart defender. It’s Singler’s basketball IQ that makes him stand out, as well as his ability to play different positions.

Jarrod Uthoff, PF: Uthoff, like Singler, was brought into training camp with the Raptors. Uthoff is a stretch four who can shoot the three and be a rim protector for the 905. While at Iowa, Uthoff in his final year averaged 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game. Uthoff also shot an impressive 38.2 percent from three.

Uthoff is projecting to be the starting power forward, though Goodluck Okonoboh (more on him in a bit) may take over that role. The 23-year-old Uthoff will be heading to Mississauga for his first year of professional basketball after going undrafted this past NBA draft.

Yanick Moreira, C: Moreira is a native of Angola who has been playing professional basketball overseas since 2008. He was also signed by the Raptors to take part in training camp and the Raptors pre-season (where he just barely saw the court). Moreira also played for Angola at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup where he averaged 17.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game, helping Angola to a 2-3 record.

Moreira projects as the club’s starting centre, And given that size is something in short supply in the guard-heavy D-League, it’s no surprise the 905 brain trust have kept Moreira around.

Brady Heslip, PG/SG: Heslip was in camp with the Raptors before getting cut and heading back down to the D-League. His main calling card is his shooting, which has kept Heslip in demand throughout his career. While he spent last season overseas, Heslip actually played with the Reno Bighorns of the D-League in 2014-15, averaging 24.5 points, two rebounds and one assist per game. Heslip, the sharp shooter, also put down an impressive 44.3 percent from three that season.

Heslip is in close competition with John Jordan for the 905’s starting point guard job. Presumably, he’ll be the team’s sixth man otherwise, providing a dose of offense off the bench.

John Jordan, PG: Jordan played in the D-League last season for three different teams and is also the reigning D-League Dunk Contest Champion. Last year he played in 32 games starting two of them while averaging 5.6 points, 2.3 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game and shooting 49.3 percent from the field. Jordan with the 905 last season played in 15 games averaging 3.9 points, 1.7 assists and 1.7 rebounds in 12.6 minutes per game.

Jordan is presumably in competition with Canadian Brady Heslip for the starting point guard job. In his favour, Jordan is a natural point guard (compared to Heslip, who’s more a shooting guard). Like Heslip, Jordan also brings some veteran D-League know-how to this younger 905 squad of minimal experience.

Goodluck Okonoboh, PF/C: Okonoboh made a surprise decision after he left UNLV for the NBA Draft after just two seasons. Okonoboh ended up going undrafted before declaring for the D-League draft during which the 905 acquired him via trade. During Okonoboh’s final season at UNLV he averaged 5.7 points, 2.9 blocks, 4.5 rebounds in 26.7 minutes per game.

Goodluck will be battling with Uthoff for the starting power forward position. He’s a serious rim protector which the 905 could use, though as his numbers suggest: his skills on offense remain underdeveloped.

Antwaine Wiggins, SF: The 905’s second round pick in the D-League draft is, in fact, a cousin to the much more famous Andrew. In his senior year at Charleston, Antwaine averaged 15.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. After going undrafted, Wiggins headed overseas to play in Brazil where he averaged just over 10 points per game in his time there.

Wiggins’ calling card is his defense which he has shown throughout every stage of his career. Ultimately, he projects to be a nice rotation piece for the 905.

C.J. Leslie, PF: Leslie a college star with NC State played in 99 games where he averaged 13.7 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.2 blocks. After going undrafted Leslie went to training camp with the New York Knicks but got cut. He then found himself in the D-League where, in the 2013-14 season, he played with Erie and Idaho. In that year he averaged 12.1 points an 5.8 rebounds per game.

Leslie was acquired by the Raptors 905 through the expansion draft. He figures to be a bench player who can add to the 905 with front court depth behind Uthoff and Okonoboh. It was a surprise Leslie decided to come back to the D-League as he had a contract with JH Rodriguez in the Dominican Republic.

Will Sheehey, SF/PF: Sheehey attended college at Indiana where he spent four seasons there before going undrafted. Afterwards, Sheehey spent a year overseas and then headed to the D-League. He played the 2014-15 season with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants and the Los Angeles D-Fenders. There Sheehey averaged 9.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Sheehey, like Leslie, was an expansion draft player who is finally coming to play with the 905. Sheehey however comes to the 905 with a history in the D-League after requesting a trade from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants because he wasn’t receiving enough minutes. He looks to add versatility to this roster as he can play the 3, 4 and possibly the 5 if the team wants to go with a small ball lineup.

J.T. Terrell, SF: Terrell is the team’s “wildcard” player, who the 905 selected in this most recent D-League draft. While at USC, Terrell was one of the better players on the court, averaging 9.8 points per game. However, a DWI derailed his career for a time. It is also unknown if he played professional basketball the past two seasons.

Terrell also did not play in the first pre-season game due to an injury and may yet be one of the clubs two inactive players.

Negus Webster-Chan, PF: Webster-Chan is an interesting story as he is now 2017 NBA Draft eligible. Webster-Chan first attended Missouri where he averaged just 2.6 points and two rebounds per game in 31 appearances (and six starts). After one year in Missouri, Webster-Chan transferred over to Hawaii which meant he had to sit out a season. In his one and only season at Hawaii, Webster-Chan averaged 8.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists across 32 games (in which he started 25).

Webster-Chan figures to be at the bottom of the rotation or as one of the team’s inactive players. Given that Webster-Chan made the team through the open tryout process, the 905 must like him. It is also interesting that they took another big man instead of a guard with potential in Kendall Williams.

The official announcement of the team’s roster is here.

The 905’s season starts on November 18th against the Greensboro Swarm.