key piece for the Socceroos

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key piece for the Socceroos

Postby xsw96 » Mon Apr 16, 2018 3:35 am

TORONTO - After auditioning roughly 60 prospects, including nine Canadians, in 11 sessions spanning over nine workout days this spring, the Toronto Raptors are putting the finishing touches on their wish list heading into Thursdays NBA Draft. For most of the last week, Masai Ujiri and his scouting staff have been mulling over 10 targets they anticipate will be available with the 20th overall pick, their first of three selections, hoping to narrow that list down to five by Tuesday. With three days to go, does he have someone in mind? "Hes around like the back here," said the former scout, gesturing to the back of his head just before the Raptors concluded their final pre-draft workout Monday afternoon. "But he hasnt made it to the front yet. Hes working his way." No, Ujiri wont tip his hand, not with so many variables at play. Fourteen teams occupy the 19 slots that precede the Raptors and will determine who is available to them. They have a list of about 13 players that are expected to be off the board by the time Toronto is on the clock. The pick will be Ujiris first as Torontos primary decision maker - the Raptors did not have a selection in last years draft - and should immediately put his keen eye for talent to the test. Since Ujiri took control of the Raptors, a franchise that has mostly been accustomed to selecting in the lottery, he has emphasized the importance of drafting well regardless of where youre situated in both the first and second rounds. For only the third time in franchise history, and first in 12 years, the Raptors are positioned outside the top 19 in the drafts opening round. Although its not an advantageous spot to find cant miss, NBA-ready talent, history has shown it can be done. In 2000, with the 20th overall pick - the teams lowest ever first-round selection - they found one of their best and most reliable contributors in long-time Raptor Morris Peterson. In 2011, then with the Nuggets, Ujiri used the 22nd pick to snag emerging forward Kenneth Faried. As Ujiri knows, the key is preparation aided by a little bit of luck and the subsequent development that is required to turn a late first-round pick into an impact player at the games highest level. "Its a huge bonus," Ujiri said of finding a diamond in the rough on draft night. "You look at the programs that have done well in the NBA, they just strike with picks like that. Its takes constant study, and really knowing players, believing in players and a system." "I think a big thing is you kind of have to be realistic on the expectations of the players," added Dan Tolzman, Torontos director of scouting, who was also a member of Ujiris front office staff in Denver. "I think everyone wants to find those diamonds and the guys that will be all-stars and MVPs and this and that but those guys are pretty hard to find outside of the lottery and the top-five even." "So I think the idea is if you can find guys at 20 or 37 or wherever that have careers," he continued, "that are eight-year players and theyre role players on your team and theyre doing good things to help you win, thats a successful draft pick. You might get lucky and hit a guy thats going to be a big time contributor and hes pushing for all-stars and that kind of thing, but thats not really what youre looking for when youre outside of the top-five or the top-10." Over the last four weeks, the Raptors brass have seen around a dozen players that figure to be selected in the latter half of the first round, or early in the second. According to team sources, there are roughly five prospects of interest that were either unable or unwilling to come in for a workout. While the workouts are not the be all and end all - the team has scouted them all in live action - they can go a long way in getting the coaching staff and trainers on board with a potential pick. Should a player fall to them unexpectedly, Ujiri will keep his options open and hasnt ruled out the possibility of trading up, if the price is right. Still, the focus is on making their make at 20. "Those trades and talks, people dont understand," said the Raptors GM. "We talk about like maybe 100 trades and then two happen. Thats the nature of our business. We will be aggressive but our energy is focused on 20, rather than wasting our time on [something else]." In addition to their first-round pick, the Raptors also own a pair of second rounders, 37 and 59 - the second to last pick in the draft. Regardless of whether or not theyre able to address their needs in the draft, Ujiri has prioritized his offseason to-do list. "We need a big wing at the three position," he said. "We [also] need some kind of shot blocking big. We have good, skilled bigs, we have a shooting big, we have a big down low, but we want to figure out how we can protect the rim a little bit. That may come now, it may come later but its something we know we need on our roster. So those two positions look like something we need." His top priority has not changed. "Were going full force after Kyle Lowry," Ujiri said, speaking of the teams coveted free agent point guard. "And if theres a talented point guard in the draft we know that its going to be tough to come and contribute to where our team is off the bat, but well go for talent in the draft. But Kyle Lowry is our target and well try to get that done." In just over a week, the Raptors - and other teams for that matter - can begin negotiating with Lowry, unable to officially sign him or announce a deal until the moratorium period ends on July 10. Until then the focus will be on the draft, one of the most chaotic events on the basketball calendar and an invaluable opportunity to add young talent, provided youre well prepared for it. The Raptors have done their homework. "I was walking into the conference room where our guys were meeting and I was like okay, no news that will throw me off right now," Ujiri joked. "Because you know its going to keep coming. There will be something tonight and something else tomorrow morning. Thats just the nature of the draft. I heard something yesterday that threw us off a little bit. But it will keep coming and coming and coming until that last minute. Thats the joy of it, I mean you love it. Thats why we do it. There is always action. As long as we come out on top, then were fine." C. J. Beathard Jersey .C. - The housecleaning continues for the B. Eli Harold Jersey . PETERSBURG, Fla. http://www.officialauthenticsf49ersonli ... RS-JERSEY/. Louis second-period goal increased the New York Rangers lead but Dustin Brown has countered for the Los Angeles Kings who now trail the New York Rangers 2-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at Madison Square Garden. Malcolm Smith Jersey . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Keeping The Captain? Brian Giontas agent Steve Bartlett told La Presse on Tuesday that the Montreal Canadiens want to keep their captain - an unrestricted free agent on July 1 - in the fold, while sources tell the paper that the two sides will start talks this week. Jimmie Ward Jersey . - Gary Kubiak is John Elways No.Group B kicks off with a rematch of the 2010 World Cup final as Spain will take on the Netherlands at the Arena Fonte Nova on Friday. Follow all the action live on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto, TSN Radio 690 in Montreal, TSN Radio 1260 in Edmonton and TEAM 1410 on Friday at 3pm et/Noon pt. The two countries needed extra time to decide the winner of the 2010 final, which Spain ultimately won thanks to an Andres Iniesta strike. And with the majority of the same pieces in place, Spain will be looking to make history by not only becoming the first nation to claim back-to-back World Cup titles since Brazil achieved the feat in 1962, but also by becoming the first European country to win the tournament in South America. Spains 2010 campaign opened with a narrow defeat to Switzerland, so with a much more difficult opponent awaiting the reigning champions in their 2014 opener, Bayern Munich midfielder Javi Martinez attempted to take some pressure off the team. "In 2010 we showed that if you lose the first game its not all over, but we want to get off to a winning start," he said. "To win the tournament you have to win as many games as possible, but in the last World Cup we showed that even after losing the first game, we wanted to get to the final." While Spain remains among the favorites to win the entire tournament, the Netherlands faces stiff competition to emerge from a cutthroat field in Group B, which also consists of Chile and Australia. The Dutch have plenty of experience in attack with the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, but the back line is relatively untested, increasing the concern as to whether the 2010 runners-up can even make it out of the group this time around. In order to compensate for the lack of experience in defence, manager Louis van Gaal looks poised to deploy five defenders in the form of three center-backs and two wing-backs. Ron Vlaar, who should feature as one of the nations three central defenders along with Stefan de Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi, is aware of the perception of Hollands weak defence, but he was quick to point out the stout performances in qualifying that saw the Dutch concede just five goals in 10 group games. "We know that. We work hard to get better as a team and we also know we have our best players up front," Vlaar said. "But if you look at all the games we played during qualification and friendlies we didnt concede many goals. "So we have to give confidence to our forwards to accelerate and make a difference for us. You play every game to win. You have to be realistic but I really believe we can achieve something. I look forward to it and I cannot wait." *** Mexico ready to put sloppy qualifying in the past vs. Cameroon After an absolutely dismal qualifying campaign, Mexico will get its first chance to put that struggle in the rearview mirror on Friday against Cameroon in Group A play at the Estadio das Dunas. Follow all the action live on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto and TEAM 1410 on Friday beginning at Noon et/9am pt. Mexico struggled mightily in CONCACAF qualifying, finishing fourth and needing a gift from the United States just to reach Brazil. El Tri was on the verge of staying home before the United States, which had already qualified for the World Cup, scored in stoppage time against Panama in the final round of matches to help Mexico clinch fourth place. A fourth-place finish meant El Tri faced New Zealand in a two-legged playoff, but breezed past the All Whites, 9-3, on aggregate to avert disaster. Head coach Miguel Herrera, who was installed as the teams fourth head coach during qualifying, will be hoping his side can put that difficulty in the past and focus on getting out of a tough group. Herrera has only been in charge for about six months, and he is taking a bit of a gamble by pinning Mexicos hopes on 35-year-old defender Rafael Marquez, who will become the first player to captain his side at four different World Cups. Javier Hernandez is a familiar face up top for Mexico, but the team will also rely on some new blood as well with Oribe Peralta leading the team in goals in qualifying while Carlos Pena carved out a place in the midfield for himself with some strong performances recently. But El Tri will be without a pair of players in Luis Montes and Juan Carlos Medina. Medina, 31, figured to occupy a defensive role in the middle of the field but who will miss the tournament becaause of an ankle injury, while Montes will miss the tournament with a broken leg suffered in a friendly against Ecuador.dddddddddddd Cameroon, meanwhile, will be making its seventh appearance in the World Cup hoping to replicate the success they had 24 years ago. The 1990 team stunned the rest of the world by becoming the first African side to reach the quarterfinals at the World Cup as they were led by the scoring exploits of veteran striker Roger Milla. Head coach Volker Finkes team will be trying to break a streak of four straight group-stage exits. The Indomitable Lions are led by 32-year-old forward Samuel Etoo. Etoo has been in and out of the side in recent years, but enters the World Cup in fine form after scoring nine goals in 21 appearances for Chelsea last season. Etoo has netted three World Cup goals in his career, leaving him two short of Millas record for the national team, and he may need to match that total if the team is going to finish in the top two in Group A. Vincent Aboubakar and Pierre Webo will also be expected to share some of the scoring load, while Alex Song, Stephane Mbia and Jean Makoun make up a quality midfield. With Brazil and Croatia also in Group A Fridays match is crucial for both clubs. Mexico will be hoping to get off to a good start with three points, while Cameroon will also need three points if they hope to escape the group stage. *** Chile has plenty to prove in World Cup opener vs. Australia Chile will have its first opportunity to open the eyes of the football world on Friday against Australia in Group B play at the Arena Pantanal. Follow all the action live on TSN Radio 1050 in Toronto, TSN Radio 690 in Montreal, TSN Radio 1200 in Ottawa and TEAM 1410 on Friday at 6pm et/3pm pt. La Roja arrived on the world football scene in 2010 when they showed the can play as beautifully as any team in South Africa. Under Marcelo Bielsa, the team was full of vibrancy and vigor, attacking with a fluidity that not many expected. Chiles squad remains largely unaltered from 2010 and are led by key pieces such as Mauricio Isla, Gary Medel and Alexis Sanchez. Sanchez has made the jump from promising player to global superstar. The 25- year-old enjoyed a banner year with Barcelona, scoring 19 goals in league play. Isla, 25, has gained much more experience since his exploits at the 2010 World Cup, splitting his club allegiances with two seasons at Udinese before making the switch to Juventus in 2012. The same can be said for Medel, who was a key defender for Sevilla in a run of a few impressive seasons. The 26-year-old moved to Cardiff City last summer, and while the Welsh club was relegated from the Premier League, Medel enjoyed a solid campaign on a personal level. On the offensive end, Esteban Paredes, Mauricio Pinilla, Eduardo Varas, Jean Beausejour and Fabian Orellana all have a chance to chip in as Sanchez cannot be expected to carry the team out of a group that consists of Spain, Australia and the Netherlands. The biggest question for Chile will be whether midfielder Arturo Vidal is fit for the opening match. Vidal is one of the most well-rounded central midfielders in the world, but he was a surprising inclusion on the final roster following a recent knee operation. Chile is more than capable of making it out of Group B without Vidal, but its outlook would be much brighter if the Juventus man is able to suit up. Australia, meanwhile, enters the 2014 event as a huge underdog against stiff competition in the group. And facing teams like Spain, Chile and The Netherlands with a vastly inexperienced squad doesnt make the Socceroos task any easier. Tim Cahill and Mark Bresciano are the only two members of the team with more than 50 caps, making them two of the countrys most important pieces. Cahill has featured for Australia in 2006 and 2010 and even became the first Australian player to score in World Cup play by netting two goals against Japan on June 12, 2006. Bresciano, also 34, boasts a great deal of experience in Serie A having represented the likes of Parma, Palermo and Lazio, but he has not played in Italys top flight since 2011. Captain Mile Jedinak is another key piece for the Socceroos. He is coming off an impressive season in the Premier League with Crystal Palace and will be tasked with guiding the team from the middle of the park. Australia figures to struggle in Group B, but Fridays match represents the clubs best chance to earn a point. Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Store Cheap Jerseys Wholesale Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Wholesale Jerseys Free Shipping Cheap Jerseys 2019 ' ' '
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