Babcock thrown to the T'wolves

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:41 AM ET

Former Raptors GM Rob Babcock is running with the wolves again. The Timberwolves.

Babcock attended Minnesota's pre-draft workouts at the Target Center in Minneapolis on Tuesday and it's expected that the Timberwolves will hire him to a full-time position within the next week or so.

The Phoenix native served as the Timberwolves' director of player personnel from 1994-2002, before being brought in as the Raptors' GM on June 7, 2004.

Babcock's tenure in Toronto was a roller-coaster ride, to say the least. He was roundly ridiculed for drafting Rafael Araujo with the eighth overall pick in 2004 and for orchestrating the one-sided Vince Carter trade on Dec.17, 2004.

However, he did earn applause for dealing volatile point guard Rafer Alston and his multi-year deal to Houston at the beginning of last season for Mike James, and for selecting Charlie Villanueva in last season's NBA draft. Babcock was fired in January.

Meanwhile, the Raptors continued their pre-draft workouts yesterday at the Air Canada Centre, and Jim Kelly, the team's director of player personnel, said the assembled braintrust were particularly impressed with 7-foot UCLA centre Ryan Hollins. Hollins averaged 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds for UCLA last season and was also a leading jumper with the school's track and field team. Kelly said Hollins' vertical jump measured off the charts yesterday.

"They talked more about his athleticism in the last 2-3 years than his basketball, but I thought sometime around December or January of this year, the switch sort of came on and he's been much more of a forceful basketball player," Kelly said.

The Raps will put Toronto native Denham Brown through his paces this morning at the ACC. Brown, who spent four years as a shooting guard with Connecticut, is expected to be picked in the second round, although it's uncertain whether the Raps would use either second round pick on the Canadian team standout. He will be joined by fellow Canuck guard Mohamed Hachad. The Montreal native led Northwestern University in steals (42) and rebounds per game last season (5.0) and was second on the team in points per game (11.8).

"I think we take a special look at all the Canadian players," Kelly said. "But Brown is a very good basketball player in his own right."

GM Bryan Colangelo refused to comment on a report that Raptors are on the verge of signing Spanish power forward Jorge Garbajosa as a free agent.


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