Hoffa vows to improve

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:24 AM ET

Rafael Araujo has a message for all those fans who booed him while he was taking free-throws last night.

"I've got three years to improve and I think I'm going to do really well for the Raptors," the team's first-round pick from last year (eighth overall) said.

Down the road, the 6-foot-11 Brazilian centre said, he will prove he can be an effective player.

"I want to be a better player," Araujo, 24, said before the Raptors lost 104-95 against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the season finale last night. "I don't want to say what I'm going to be in two years. I don't know if I'll be alive in two years. I just want to keep working hard, do the same routine I do. My time will come that I'm going to show off my game and be comfortable and get better."

Araujo doesn't pay much attention to the booing.

"They (the fans) don't know what's going on," said Araujo, who was averaging 3.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 12.3 minutes heading into play last night.

"They just want you to go over here and think I should do well every day. They think it's just basketball and (he should) just put the ball in the net. It's different. I've been working hard and trying to improve every day. You have one bad game and they start to boo. But that's the fans, that's what they do. I've heard (the boos), but it doesn't really bother me. I'm a professional player. They boo you today, they love you tomorrow, that's how it is. That's how life is."

Raptors swingman Jalen Rose thinks he knows why the fans are booing Araujo.

"He's probably not coming in like Tim Duncan did, so he becomes an easy target," Rose said. "When you're winning games, those kind of situations don't happen. But I feel like it's going to build character in him as a player. We're going to make sure he keeps his head up and works his butt off this summer. You've got to remember these times."

Much has been made about how Philadelphia 76ers rookie swingman Andre Iguodala, who was picked ninth, has performed better than Hoffa. No worries, Araujo said.

"It could take a couple of years," Araujo said. "It takes a little time. A big man is different than a guard. Guards always develop (faster) in this league."


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