Raptors eyes on UConn

JASON PAUL -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:14 AM ET

The future of the Raptors could lie on the campus of the University of Connecticut.

As the Raptors continue to rack up the losses, so do the odds of landing the first pick overall in the 2006 NBA draft.

Although there's no consensus No. 1 pick, many draft analysts are slotting in small forward Rudy Gay of the UConn Huskies as the early favourite. The 6-foot-9 sophomore has incredible speed for his size, a nice scoring touch, long arms and explosiveness that is hard to handle.

"Rudy brings a lot to the table," UConn associate coach Tom Moore said. "He's light on his feet, and at his size, he's the kind of wing player the NBA is looking for."

The Raptors -- who selected Charlie Villanueva from UConn last summer -- already have attended several UConn practices this year, and not just to scout Gay. There will be pressure to use their second-round pick on Toronto boy Denham Brown, a senior on the team. And if the Raptors continue to get cursed by the NBA draft lottery system and drop down a number of spots, they might be interested in UConn junior Josh Boone, who may be a bit undersized for the centre position at 6-foot-10 but is a banger.

The Raptors picked a bad year to potentially finish last overall as this draft is expected to be one of the weakest in years because high-schoolers can no longer declare.

Other players the Raptors probably will be keeping a close eye on this NCAA season include 6-foot-9 power forward Sheldon Williams of Duke, 6-foot-2 point guard Daniel Gibson of Texas and 6-foot-7 shooting guard Ronnie Brewer of Arkansas.


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