ST. CATHARINES -- Without a perfect grasp of the English language, Spanish point guard Jose Calderon has fit right in with the Raptors.
If only talking to the media came as naturally as basketball to the rookie, life would be beautiful.
One of the biggest adjustments for Calderon, who thinks he speaks English far worse than he actually does, has been getting used to using a second language in daily scrums.
"It's easier on the floor than here with you," Calderon said. "On the floor, a basket is a basket. Same in Europe as here. But with you (reporters), I need one month, two months, I don't know, to speak better."
However, the language issue has not affected Calderon is his real job -- playing basketball.
"Jose picks up things, he really has," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said. "It has been a surprise. I thought there may be a language barrier, but basketball-wise he has picked up everything we've asked him to do on offence and defence."
During the summer, Raptors forward Eric Williams explored a new field of work -- the real estate business. He was doing renovation and construction on properties in his hometown of Newark, N.J., and Miami.
"I was getting back on my hands and knees," said Williams, who arrived in training camp with a much-improved attitude after a tough first season with the Raptors.
"I really got away from basketball and brought my family together, I tried to get my family tight, not just my son, but my uncle is an electrician, one of my cousins is a mason and one of my cousins builds houses. It was one of those things to get my family back in unison."
JOB ON LINE
Loren Woods' contract expires at the end of the season and that fact hasn't been lost on the Raptors' starting centre from opening day 2004.
"It puts a lot more pressure on me to do well and a lot less (room) for error," said Woods, whose minutes dipped in the second half of last season. "This team will not want to bring me back if I'm not a consistent player. That's what this team needs, a consistent post player."