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Fellow sophomore Ross has also seen his performance slip over the teams recent slide, recording just one point on Monday, shooting 0-for-6. Meanwh z bloga użytkownika bellis

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TORONTO - Nearly eight years ago, the Raptors took a low-risk chance on an intriguing prospect out of Texas when they used a second-round draft pick to select the position-less P. Alan Branch Jersey .J. Tucker. Tucker, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound bull, had the build of a power forward trapped in the frame of a shooting guard. By all accounts he was a misfit, destined to end up in the leagues scrapheap with the vast majority of its second-rounders. During his rookie season, Tucker played 21 games for Toronto, bouncing back and forth from the D-League before he was waived by the team less than a year into his NBA journey. After playing in six countries over the next five years, Tucker returned to the league and put up career-highs as a 28-year-old starting for the Phoenix Suns last season. The league has changed and, as a result, so has the need for players that are able to easily adapt. Enter Iowa State senior and Toronto-native Melvin Ejim, who is hoping to hear his named called sometime during the second round in this months draft. Like Tucker and many talented prospects before him, Ejim has been labeled a "tweener" - a hybrid player stuck in between positions as a result of size, strength or skill set. For a long time, the term carried a negative connotation in NBA circles. Who will he defend? How does he fit in? Now its become the norm. Tweeners, combo guards, stretch fours. As teams continue to challenge the defence with smaller, quicker lineups, the NBA is evolving into a league void of prototypical positions. On Thursday, the Miami Heat will begin their pursuit of a third consecutive title led by LeBron James, perhaps the most unique basketball player weve ever seen, capable of playing and guarding four or five positions on the floor at a high level. Last week, Oklahoma City was eliminated in the Western Conference Finals with three point guards on the court together down the stretch of Game 6. The team that ousted them and Miamis opponent in the Finals, the Spurs possess the versatility to match up with almost any style of play, thanks in large part to their versatile wings - Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and Boris Diaw. Ultimately, what position you play is less important than the underlying question - can you play? At 6-foot-6, 220 pounds, Ejim is confident that theres a place for him and his well-rounded game on an NBA team. "I think it depends on how you look at the word tweener," he said following Wednesday mornings pre-draft workout in the Raptors practice facility at the Air Canada Centre. "If you see it as a valuable thing, then I think that I bring a lot of stuff. I think that Im a small forward and I bring versatility to be able to defend bigger guys, I have a strong body that can do a lot of things defensively. Then offensively [Im] versatile, can shoot the ball and play inside and out. And if you dont consider those good things, then I guess tweeners a bad thing." Ejim, the Big 12 Conference player of the year, has fully embraced his basketball identity. "Its better than being called a glue guy," he said of the tweener label. "Ive yet to see anyone say, yo, youre a tweener, we dont really do tweeners over here," Ejim joked. "And honestly, its not even about being a tweener, its about being a player. If youre somebody that can go out and play basketball on different levels and play at different positions, then youre valuable, youre a good player." Following Tuesdays auditions, a pair of combo guards, Jordan Clarkson and Nick Johnson - also expected to go in the second round - echoed a similar sentiment. Versatility will also be a valuable commodity when the Raptors make their first-round selection at pick no. 20. UCLAs Kyle Anderson is a point guard in a 6-foot-9 body, athletic Clemson product K.J. McDaniels can defend multiple positions, while NC States T.J. Warren projects as a versatile and unconventional scorer. All three wing players are expected to workout in Toronto later this week. "Its almost a positive in todays game," said Dan Tolzman, director of scouting for the Raptors. "You want the flexibility that if a team goes big against you, you have the ability to just shift guys over a spot and keep your best players out there. I think the same goes the other way. If guys go small, youd like to have perimeter players that can bang down low and can rebound hard when youre in a small ball game. I think its just the progression of the game." Working out alongside fellow Canadian Khem Birch, a Montreal-native out of UNLV, Ejim impressed the Raptors, not only with his versatility and commitment to defence but with his approach, maturity and professionalism. "He came in [wearing] slacks and a nice button-down shirt," Tolzman said of Ejim. "He looked like he was coming to an interview and I think that clearly it resonates with us because this is a professional job interview for these guys." With a couple second-round picks at 37 and 59, the Raptors could consider selecting the hometown product, who would be a welcomed addition within Dwane Caseys system. Although his skill set continues to fly under the radar in a talented, wing-heavy draft class, its not hard to envision him catching on with a team and working his way into a rotation, not unlike Tucker in Phoenix. "His niche in my opinion will be as a defensive player," Tolzman said. "Hes a strong defender and I think the level of intensity he plays with bodes well for guys that focus on defence because when they give their all, they impact the game somehow, even if their shots not there." Chris Hogan Jersey . Cesar said the difficulties he went through after the 2010 World Cup helped him become "a better professional" and made him "more focused" on his career. He admitted that he took things for granted before the World Cup in South Africa, when he arrived considered the worlds top goalkeeper. James Develin Jersey . The Redblacks host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-9) Friday night in their last home game of the year and as of Thursday afternoon, the team was anticipating a ninth consecutive sellout. You can watch all the action on TSN1, TSN3, TSN4, and TSN5 beginning at 7:30pm et/4:30pm pt.CHARLOTTE - Jonas Valanciunas took a quick glance at the stat sheet, no longer banned post-game, crumpled it up into a ball and hurled it across the locker room. At the bottom of the page the final score read "100-95" - Torontos third loss in four games - but it was how they got there that had the Raptors young centre shaking his head as he destroyed the evidence. In the less literal sense he wasnt alone. The Raptors locker room was filled with distraught players drowning their sorrows in a sea of chicken fingers and mac and cheese at the post-game buffet, eager to forget about their most recent setback. "We cant really panic, but weve got to hold each other accountable," said Greivis Vasquez, moments after his team failed to close out what would have been a historic comeback in eventual defeat to a familiar, albeit perplexing foe, the Charlotte Bobcats. "Its easy when we win and you smile and youre cool, youre hanging around, but when you face adversity or obstacles, thats when you really show your character, so now weve really got to show what [were] made of." For Vasquez - who helped engineer Torontos late-game run - his teammates and his coach, there were no moral victories to be celebrated after cutting a 30-point third quarter deficit to one with 26 seconds remaining. No moral victories, not anymore, not if they fancy themselves a playoff contender. Instead the question was, how could they fall behind by 30 to the Bobcats - who had lost 10 of 13 and were playing without Kemba Walker - in the first place? "Effort," Kyle Lowry said, and repeated six times in a three-minute scrum. For the final 16 minutes they played with plenty of it, outscoring the nemesis Bobcats 54-29 to close out the game. For the first 32 it was nowhere to be found. "Thats it, effort," the Raptors point guard continued. "That simple. Effort." Its not that simple, not for the teams fans or coaching staff that were left to wonder where that effort went for two and a half quarters in a game the Raptors sorely needed. "Its a long season but you tell a lot about who you are in these situations," Dwane Casey said. "Today was a gut-check game and the fourth quarter we turned it around but its about what we did in the first three quarters thats disappointing." Coming off a loss to the corpse of the Los Angeles Lakers 24 hours earlier, and an equally disheartening defeat in Boston last week, the Raptors scored a season-low 11 points in the first quarter. For the second straight day they attempted nearly three times as many three-pointers as free throws and allowed the leagues 28th ranked offensive team to score 100 points on 49 per cent shooting. The loss was their seventh straight in Charlotte to a Bobcats team that has been varying degrees of terrible throughout that span of Raptors fuutility. Mike Gillislee Jersey. "Weve got to take these two losses to heart," said Vasquez who had 15 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, his best line as Raptor. "Were professionals, we know what were playing for, so, [theres] no excuses on this team. Some guys just got to step up and understand what were playing for." "I think were fine," he continued. "Weve just got to wake up and understand that one loss cant really take us down, but one win can really build some good momentum." Veteran bruiser Chuck Hayes put it best. "Its an emotional roller coaster in this league." A week ago they were riding high, winners of three straight and eight of 10, since then theyve crashed back down to earth. Where do they truly stand in the grand scheme of things? Likely somewhere in the middle. Success in the league is fickle, as Casey knows and Hayes has learned in his years of service. "After the momentum we had in December you would kind of hope it would shift over into the New Year but the New Year aint been so good to us so far," said Hayes, who recorded his first double-double - 12 points and 13 rebounds - since Apr. 11, 2011. "But theres a lot of basketball left." Hayes, along with fellow reserves Vasquez and Patrick Patterson, played the bulk of the fourth quarter in place of frontcourt tandem Valanciunas and Amir Johnson, who each played less than 19 minutes, and Terrence Ross, who logged 21. For the fourth straight game Valanciunas failed to eclipse 23 minutes or score in double figures, shooting 6-for-21 over that stretch. On Monday he was overwhelmed in a daunting matchup with crafty, low-post shaman Al Jefferson. The Raptors sophomore bit on Jeffersons pump fakes, got beat on the boards and most alarmingly let his frustration get the better of him. Jefferson, who had a double-double after the first quarter, finished with 22 points and 19 boards. Fellow sophomore Ross has also seen his performance slip over the teams recent slide, recording just one point on Monday, shooting 0-for-6. Meanwhile, Johnson connected on just one of his four attempts and has exceeded 10 rebounds in one of his last 15 contests. "Weve got to find a start that fits us," said Casey, who wouldnt rule out an eventual lineup change but insisted its too early to make that call. "You cant spot any team in this league 25-30 points and expect to be successful." The Raptors will be given a much-needed day of reflection before hosting the Mavericks on Wednesday. It will be the first time theyve faced a winning team in seven games. After squandering three golden opportunities in six days, it could be the wakeup call they need. "Weve got another game," said Hayes. "This is not it, [its] just a little adversity and weve got to find a way to respond." Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China Cheap Jerseys From China Cheap NFL Jerseys Authentic Wholesale Jerseys China Cheap NFL Jerseys China NFL Cheap Jerseys ' ' '

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