Denham moving up, Aldridge down

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:45 AM ET

The Toronto Stock Exchange took a beating last week, but the stock of Toronto native Denham Brown soared.

In fact, few draft-eligible basketball players have seen their stock rise as dramatically as Brown's has in recent weeks.

So much so that the former West Hill Collegiate star may be a first-round selection on NBA draft day, July 28.

At one point after he finished his senior year at the University of Connecticut, there was talk that Brown, who averaged 10.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and shot 40% from the floor for the Huskies this past season, would not be drafted at all.

But slowly over the past months, as he worked out for various NBA teams, including the Raptors, scouts began to talk and Brown's stock rose.

Most mock drafts on the Internet now list the small forward/shooting guard as a high second-round pick and some, including nbadraft.net, have him going in the first round.

Indeed, the Raptors are so high on Brown, they have scheduled him for a second workout, this Wednesday at the Air Canada Centre. Working out with Brown will be possible top-three picks Adam Morrison and Rudy Gay.

A while back, there was talk that the Raptors might take the homegrown star with perhaps their 56th pick in the second round. Now, if the Raps pen him in as their first pick in the second round (35th), they may miss out, as he may already be gone. And that would be a shame for Toronto basketball fans.

Speculation is running rampant as to whom the Raps will pick with their No. 1 overall selection overall on July 28. Three players have emerged as the front-line contenders -- Italian forward Andrea Bargnani, Gonzaga forward Morrison and Texas forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who wowed the Toronto braintrust during a workout at the Air Canada Centre on Friday.

But while the Raptors' director of personnel, Jim Kelly, praised Aldridge, his numbers from the NBA combine tell a different story. According to the figures, secured by nbadraft.net, Aldridge's overall numbers -- which measure athleticism, speed and strength -- were, in fact, quite poor. Aldridge scored 68th out of the 80 prospects. Brown was 36th. And while those numbers obviously don't tell the whole story in terms of how well the player will do in a game situation, Aldridge's numbers may have deterred the Raps, and others, from taking him in the top five in the draft.

As an example, most players, including Brown, where able to bench-press 185 pounds 12 times or more. Aldridge, who goes 6-foot-11 and 240 pounds, was able to do that only eight times.

On the plus side, Aldridge recorded a jaw-dropping wingspan of 7 feet, 4.75 inches.


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