TORONTO - Solomon Alabiís fall in last monthís NBA draft has landed the Nigerian big man in Toronto, an opportunity he hopes to seize.
ďI donít view what happened to me as a drop,íí began Alabi on Monday, when he and fellow draft pick Ed Davis were formally unveiled by the Raptors.
ďIím just excited to be here in Toronto, to be with the Raptors. The way I look it, there were teams who missed out on me.Ē
Teams missed out because they were scared of Alabiís health.
Alabi suffers from Hepatitis B, an inflammation of the liver, a condition he said he has had since birth, very treatable and not likely to prevent him from reaching his pro goals.
ďHe has been checked out thoroughly by our doctors,íí Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo said.
The Raptors forfeited cash and a future second-round pick to acquire Alabi from Dallas, which selected the Florida State product with the 50th overall pick when many draft experts figured Alabi would go much higher.
While rare in a country such as the United States, Hep B is quite common in the continent of Africa.
Even with Alabiís representatives issuing a statement from a sports medicine specialist prior to the June 24 draft, it still discouraged teams from taking Alabi.
The 7-foot-1 Alabi came to America five years ago and attended an Orlando-area high school before he enrolled at FSU.
Defence is Alabiís biggest asset, a strength he helped in leading the Seminoles to appearances in the past two NCAA tournaments.
His number of choice is 50, the same worn by his idol growing up, Hakeem Olajuwon.
Alabi had no clue ďThe DreamĒ played in Toronto, but hopefully the kid will have more of a presence than the washed-up Olajuwon had as a Raptor.
Alabi is thin, but heís long and athletic.
The Raptors liked him when Alabi worked out for the team, but couldnít pass on the opportunity to take Davis when fell into their lap at