Slow starts for Euro picks

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

The Raptors' top European prospects are not exactly burning up the Euroleague.

Point guard Roko Ukic (Tau Ceramica, Spain) and forward Uros Slokar (Benetton Treviso, Italy), both of whom were second-round picks last year, have not made huge impacts in Europe's top league this season.

Ukic, who missed all of December with a kidney injury, returned to the court for a game Jan. 5 and had five points and two assists in 16 minutes in a 94-73 win for Tau Ceramica. In five games this season, Ukic is averaging five points and two assists in 14 minutes. He's shooting 44.4% from the field. Not huge numbers for a guy many consider to the be the Raps point guard of the future.

The personable Slokar, back in the top league after he was loaned to a lower-level team in Italy last season, is averaging 4.5 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting 45.4% in nine games. He remains a long-term project for the Raptors.

On a brighter note, Tau Ceramica and Benetton Treviso are tied for first in their division at 6-3. The two teams square off Jan. 25.

NUMBER CRUNCHING

The Raptors can tie a franchise record for 100-plus points games in a row by hitting the century mark for the sixth consecutive time tonight against the Charlotte Bobcats at the Air Canada Centre ... Raptors rookie forward Charlie Villanueva has more offensive rebounds (74) than any NBA player who has not started a game ... Chalk this up in the strange statistic department, Morris Peterson plays his best basketball with zero days rest this season. In games played the day after another game, Peterson is averaging 17.6 points.

BRIEFLY

After his team played games the previous two nights, coach Sam Mitchell gave the players a day off yesterday ... The latest rumour, which makes no sense, to pop up has Detroit Pistons point guard/ex-Raptor Carlos Arroyo going back to his old team for Mike James. Not going to happen ... The Raptors, who seemed to take up permanent residence in the bottom spot of ESPN's power rankings earlier this season, have moved up to 19th.


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