Toronto

NBA hopefuls show up for Raptors 905 annual open tryouts

Raptors 905 held their annual open tryouts Saturday, where hopefuls from across the GTA and beyond brought their all in hopes of landing a spot on the NBA G League team.

Players from across GTA and beyond vie for a spot on the NBA G League team

Raptors 905 held their annual open tryouts at University of Toronto's St. George campus Saturday. (CBC News)

Raptors 905 held their annual open tryouts Saturday, where hopefuls from across the GTA and beyond brought their all in hopes of landing a spot on the NBA G League team.

The talent this year was promising, as it was last year, and Raptors 905 general manager Dan Tolzman showed enthusiasm Saturday for the quality players who made it out.

"We're pretty fortunate being in Toronto to where this city produces a pretty high level of local players," Tolzman told the media. "Our talent pool is probably a bit richer than some other G League teams in terms of guys that qualify for this event."

Raptors 905 general manager Dan Tolzman was pleased with the quality of the players who showed up at the open tryouts this year. (CBC News)

In addition to the possibility of making the team, the tryouts also give NBA hopefuls a chance to network and build a name for themselves.

Aaron Best was among the locals trying out at the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport at University of Toronto's St. George campus this year, and he says he wanted to take advantage of the opportunities the tryouts could bring.

"It's nice that we have this opportunity here at home for guys that are local and for guys that are from the city," Best said. "We have a great facility here and great facilities all over the city now, so we really have to take advantage of it when you can."

Aaron Best was among the locals at the Raptors 905 open tryouts this year. (CBC News)

The team had a successful season last year, ultimately becoming the NBA G League champions. That's something that drew Richard Amard to try out on Saturday.

"The [team] definitely left a big mark by winning the NBA G League championship last year." Amard said. "It's just a good atmosphere to be around. I'm trying to make the most of this opportunity and continue to build on the success that I've been able to have."

Beginning in the 2017-18 season, the D-League rebranded to the G League as part of a multi-year deal with Gatorade. 

Richard Amard was among the many players that tried out for the Raptors 905 on Saturday. (CBC News)

Raptors 905 hopes to continue to build on last year's success with fresh blood, and that extends beyond the tryouts on Saturday.

"The league does a really good job of opening up the standards in terms of we can search nationally, globally whatever we can to try and find some guys that qualify," Tolzman said. "We can look all around the country and see who's out there. I think if you just do your homework and find the best players that you can that qualify under these rules, you can always find some talent for sure."

Ultimately, the hopefuls who made it out to the tryouts have their sights set on playing in the NBA, something Tolzman says he'd like to see as well.

"The goal is always to be successful and get the best players we can to not only win at the G League level but also see if there's any guys out there that could eventually be whether it's summer league with the Raptors the next summer or training camp or whatever, eventually get a look with the Raptors — that's the ultimate goal for sure."