Araujo becoming beast in middle

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:27 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell has been after rookie Rafael Araujo to start being an immovable object in the paint and yesterday the big Brazilian finally stood his ground.

As a result, he came away with 14 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes of work in the Raptors' 109-87 pasting of the Golden State Warriors at the Air Canada Centre.

"I think what (Araujo) did is what we want him to do -- take up space and bring a physical presence to the game," Mitchell said.

Mitchell began giving Araujo more minutes on the final leg of the team's most recent West Coast trip where the rookie had back-to-back 10-rebound games.

But Mitchell said that it's still a learning process for Araujo.

"To his credit, he's beginning to learn," he said. "He comes to the coaches with questions. He reads the scouting reports."

Araujo continues to find himself in foul trouble -- he had four yesterday early in the fourth quarter -- but Mitchell said those are mistakes of aggression and he's not going to complain.

STILL LEARNING

"He's still makes mistakes," Mitchell said. "But I see that a lot of his mistakes are simply because he hasn't been in these situations before.

"I tell him all the time that as long as he's working hard not to worry about rookie mistakes.

Araujo said he wants to take advantage of the kind of minutes Mitchell is giving him.

"This is my game ... the kind of minutes I played in college," Araujo said.

The 6-foot-11 centre was even able to get a little fancy against the Warriors defence, potting several hook shots.

"I'm just trying to get in the right position at the right time," he said. "I was able to use my hook shot (yesterday). I have been practicing my hook shot from both the left and right side."

Araujo said that he knows hard work is the key to keeping his starting job in Toronto.

"I know the great players play every night so that's what I want to try to do," he said.

His recent aggressive play has also made him a more frequent target for his teammate to pass to.

"My teammates are looking for me more because I am getting open more," he said.


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