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NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance

This past weekend, 64 basketball players from all over the world gathered in a University of Toronto gymnasium for a tryout for the Raptors G League affiliate, 905 Raptors. A total of 28 players made it past the first day of cuts for a second tryout on Sunday, where they battled for one of four spots in a training camp in October. If they make the team, they’ll get a salary of between $19,500 and $26,000 and the chance to crack the Toronto Raptors’ NBA lineup. (While no 905 Raptors have made the big leagues in the three years the team has been hosting open tryouts, there have been success stories in the league—most notably the San Antonio Spurs’ Jonathon Simmons.) On Saturday, we asked a few hopefuls why they deserve to be on centre court at the ACC.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Keenan Palmore

23, basketball trainer from Atlanta, Georgia

How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was two or three years old. Since I could walk.

What NBA player is your style closest to? Jeff Teague.

Why do you think you should make this team? I’m a hard worker, I’m a leader and I think I can help this squad.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Eddie Asamoah

24, Foot Locker worker from Calgary

When did you start playing basketball? In high school, freshman year.

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What NBA player is your style closest to? I have bits and pieces of people I like. I don’t want to say a specific player.

Why should you make this team? I think I deserve to be on the team. I can compete with the guys so I deserve a shot.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Najeal Young

23, personal trainer from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was five.

What NBA player is your style closest to? A couple of guys. But mainly I watch Lebron James and James Harden. Maybe those two, and a lot of Kobe Bryant. Those three the players I try to take bits and pieces of and put them into my game.

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Why do you think you should make this team? I want to bring it on a daily basis. I compete. I know I have a lot of skill sets that I think the team can use.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Francis (Musanga) Likele

29, administrative assistant from Scarborough

How long have you been playing basketball? I played in high since school. So, since I was 15 years old.

What NBA player is your style closest to? Caremelo Anthony.

Why do you think you should make this team? I’m not a selfish player, I like playing the team basics. I shoot the ball well and most of the time I’ve been the captain on every team I’ve played for.

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NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Hudson Simon

23, security guard from Pickering

How long have you been playing basketball? Since ninth grade.

What NBA player is your style closest to? Some people say I play like Carmelo Anthony, because I like to use the triple threat a lot.

Why do you think you should make this team? I’m a good player. I’ve been playing ball a long time, and I’ve got the height, so I have a little gain there.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Isaiah Watkins

23, recent university graduate from Toronto

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How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was three years old.

What NBA player is your style closest to? I’m a big fan of Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant.

Why do you think you should make this team? I think I bring great energy. I’m a competitor and I think I’ve got a real versatile game that can help this team.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Jonathan Masivi

21, student from Toronto

How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was three years old.

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What NBA player is your style closest to? I’d probably say I base my game on Isaiah Thomas because we’re kind of the same height, so he motivates me. I feel like every time I watch him it brings my game to another level.

Why do you think you should make this team? I think I should make this team because I’m a good player with a good attitude. I’m an outgoing guy, so I can talk to anybody, like the coaching staff or my teammates.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Michael Del Rosario

21, university student and retail worker from Toronto

How long have you been playing basketball? I’ve been competing for the past 10 years, and it’s been a struggle because I’m a 5’9’' guard from the Philippines.

What NBA player is your style closest to? I’d say the guys I most identify with are Isaiah Thomas and Stephen Curry.

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Why do you think you should make this team? A common answer would be, “because I’m good,” or “I work hard.” But the thing is, I just want to bring something positive, and I want to be the first full-blooded Filipino to make the NBA for my family. There’s a half-Filipino player. His name is Jordan Clarkson. But I want to make it, too.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Nahum Belete Adamu

22, roofer and gas station worker from Waterdown, Ontario

How long have you been playing basketball? Since Grade 7.

What NBA player is your style closest to? He doesn’t play now, because he got injured—but Brandon Roy. He probably would have gone really far if he didn’t get that knee injury.

Why do you think you should make this team? I’m fast. I can pass the ball. I’m a lockdown defender. I’m good point guard and I’m a good defender as well.

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NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Jefferson Registe

20, shift supervisor from North York

How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was five.

What NBA player is your style closest to? Allen Iverson.

Why do you think you should make this team? I think I should make this team because I consider myself one of the best point guards in the country right now. Unless someone else proves me wrong.

NBA hopefuls explain why the Raptors should give them a chance
Kojo Afari

24, security worker from Hamilton

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How long have you been playing basketball? Since I was a 15.

What NBA player is your style closest to? It’s been in transition. Right now I’d say I’m like a young Kawhi Leonard, very simple but effective. I have length, athleticism and strength.

Why do you think you should make this team? Because I started a little late, so my mouldability is that of a young 19 year-old, but my maturity is that of a 24-year-old. That’s the best of both worlds. I bring energy, and I’ve got a consistent jump shot, and I’m just a good team player.

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