On Monday, the open try-outs for the D-League's Idaho Stampede wrapped up at Humber College, in Toronto. The two-day affair, attratced over 70 hopefuls vying to get a spot on the Raptors and Trailblazers developmental squad. Surprisingly, about two thirds of the players came up from the U.S. for the try-outs, even travelling from as far as Los Angeles, California.
I was on assignment doing a story on the affair for Replay, and actually considered trying out myself, for a different perspective on the story, but decided against it. Ryan from Hoops Addict, actually did suit up, but came up with a "phantom" injury 30 minutes into Day 1, (yes I'm calling you out Ryan. Anytime you want to go one-on-one for a battle of the blogs just holler, lol). All jokes aside, some of the Toronto Raptors brass came out, Jim Kelly, Senior Director, Player Personnel , and Maurizio Gherardini Senior VP of Basketball Operations, Canadian Men's Basketball Team Head Coach Leo Rautins also took in the action. Management and coaches from the Halifax Rainmen were also in attendance definitely making it the place to showcase your talent.
By the second day, the pool was narrowed down to 16, and then down to the 5 players the coaching staff liked. While not fully guaranteed a spot on the roster the players came one step closer to the big stage, and with the top notch coaching staff of the Stampede, will definitely improve their skills as basketball players.