Raps expect big things from Alabi


, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

VANCOUVER ó† - As he evolves into a legitimate NBA big, itís incumbent on Raptors rookie Solomon Alabi to get bigger, develop better foot work and improve his balance.

Itís all part of the learning curve for a kid who works hard, listens and is very excited as the Raptors were set to tip off their pre-season late Wednesday night against the host Phoenix Suns.

Heís so far away from being a frontline player that itís foolish to even project what kind of impact this second-round draft choice will have with the Raptors.

Unlike lottery pick Ed Davis (knee), Alabi is at least healthy, learning in a practice setting and is sure to get minutes during exhibition play.

ďIím trying to get my legs stronger,íí Alabi said. ďThe coaches have talked to me about it and itís something Iím working on it.Ē

Heís spending extra time in the weight room, working alongside assistant Alex English to refine his foot work and generally trying to absorb something new each day.

As Alabi spoke about his first training camp experience, former NBAer and Canadian national team centre Todd MacCulloch was spotted outside the Raptorsí dressing room.

MacCulloch never had Alabiís wing span, but his foot work was good and he left everything out on the floor, despite being slow of foot.

ďEverything is much faster at this level,íí added Alabi, a Florida State product who earned his reputation at the college level on the defensive end of the floor. ďPractises are much harder. Thereís a lot of plays coming your way, but Iím excited and itís fun.Ē