Raptors rookie Terrence Ross turning bashers into fans

Raptors guard Terrence Ross during training camp at the Canada Games Center in Halifax, N.S., Oct....

Raptors guard Terrence Ross during training camp at the Canada Games Center in Halifax, N.S., Oct. 3, 2012. (MARK GOUDGE/QMI Agency)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:16 PM ET

HALIFAX - Its one of those little wonders of the world wide web.

In a little more than three months, the Raptors selection of Terrence Ross with the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft has gone from What were they thinking? to I really like his potential.

The draft boards and fan chat sites on draft night were rife with disenchantment. Why didnt they take Austin Rivers? Who is Terrence Ross? Why didnt we at least trade down to get him?

But somehow, without Ross playing a single game, suiting up for maybe a handful of scrimmages and, as of this morning, four NBA practices, the tune has changed not completely mind you but enough to be noticeable.

We can speculate how something like that happens. People start buying in as the team rationalizes the pick. Or the public educates itself about the player and finds theres a lot to like about him.

Not that those among the Raptors decision makers concerned themselves too much with the publics reaction.

From the moment they made the pick and through the early negative fallout, Bryan Colangelo and his staff knew they had done their homework and if John Hollinger had Ross rated No. 27 or Chad Ford rated him the 11th best pick, what mattered was Ross was the best player available on their own board.

And nothing since has made them second guess that.

That said, Ross is very much aware of what is in front of him.

He doesnt have to look far to see the equally highly drafted DeMar DeRozan, who currently holds the bulk of the minutes at the shooting guard spot.

(DeMar) is still our starting two, head coach Dwane Casey said following a morning practice on Wednesday. Nobody has emerged over him. Terrence is doing a good job of working him, but DeMar is an experienced player and he is using it.

Ross, while lacking that experience, does have experience of another sort.

When he joined the University of Washington Huskies, Ross was buried on the depth chart.

He was fourth on the chart behind Scott Suggs, C.J. Wilcox and Justin Holiday. Towards the end of his freshman year he was starting. In his sophomore season, which turned out to be his last season with the Huskies, Ross was one of only two Huskies to start all 35 games.

I worked my way up, Ross said. It was hard, so I know what it takes to get to where I want to be. I just have to go out and put in that kind of work.

DeRozan sees a little of himself in Ross. Obviously both are athletic wing players, but like DeRozan, Ross is already hearing that he needs to bulk up. DeMar was actually younger in his first year with the Raptors but he vividly recalls the feeling out period that training camp was.

You really dont know what to expect, DeRozan said of a guys first camp. Youre the young guy and youre here with all these older guys who have been in this situation, know what to expect and what they have to do. They know how their body is going to feel the second, third and fourth days and they know how to get through that.

But DeRozan can already see Ross is taking the proper approach.

You can just see him learning, following everybody and just listening at the same time, DeRozan said. Hes not a big talker, but I wasnt either. As long as you listen and do what youre supposed to, I mean youre going to make mistakes but you learn. Hell be fine.

Had Ross arrived a year earlier, playing time would have been much more readily available. But as Casey and Colangelo have hammered home, this season isnt like last season. Development is no longer the goal. Winning is the goal and for that reason Ross and fellow rookie Jonas Valanciunas will have to be a little more patient, just not too patient as Casey pointed out.

They shouldnt be patient, Casey said.

They should be in there scrapping and fighting for minutes and thats what they have been doing. DeMar is still a little bit above the young guy but I dont want Terrence to be patient. I want him out there fighting and scratching for minutes, but at the same time if he doesnt play, he has to understand (his) time is coming and be ready. Hes doing that. Hes a great kid and hes working his butt off.

And two days into training camp, could a rookie ask for a better report card from the voice that matters most.

LOTS OF TURNOVERS

Day 2 of Raptors camp as the focus shifted to offence brought out some expected growing pains.

The Raps want to play fast. They want to get the ball up court as quick as possible to create scoring chances.

On Wednesday, it meant turnover after turnover and while he knew it was likely coming, it left coach Dwane Casey marginally disappointed.

I loved our effort, I loved our spirit, but way too many turnovers, Casey said. One thing when you play fast and try to up-tempo the game, it comes with a responsibility for the ball and everyone is guilty of it. Its natural, but thats the only thing I find that we are behind on just taking care of the ball and making sure we make the right basketball play.


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