Raps expect big things from Alabi

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:05 PM ET

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

It’s 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.

He’s so far away from being a frontline player that it’s 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.

“I’m trying to get my legs stronger,’’ Alabi said. “The coaches have talked to me about it and it’s something I’m working on it.”

He’s 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 Raptors’ dressing room.

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

“Everything is much faster at this level,’’ added Alabi, a Florida State product who earned his reputation at the college level on the defensive end of the floor. “Practises are much harder. There’s a lot of plays coming your way, but I’m excited and it’s fun.”


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