Thursday, March 1, 2007
He's 7 foot. He's huge having 250 pounds of solid muscle. He is only 21. Who is this guy? He is Andrea Bargnani.
It all started at the 2007 NBA Draft Lottery.Both the Toronto Raptors and the Charlotte Bobcats were looking to get the #1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft. When the NBA commissioner announced the #1 pick, it was the Raptors standing above the rest. With that pick they chose European sensation Andrea Bargnani. But with other choices such as Adam Morrison, many criticized new Toronto GM Bryan Colengelo for his choice.
Early in the season, it looked like those critics were right as Bargnani was a non-factor in the Raptors 1st 9 games. 9 games in which the team went 2-7. After their 5th straight loss which resulted in their 7th loss, Raptors Head Coach did something that most coaches usually wouldn't do. He took 6 of his "big men" which included Bargnani and brought them for a special practice at a local health club.Mitchell put one ball beneath a basket and two players at the foul line. One man's job was to get the ball, the other's was to keep him from touching it. By any means necessary."It was like a fight," Bargnani says three months later. "Nothing dirty, just a tough, physical practice. It was the right thing to do." From that day on Andrea has had an aggressiveness style of play like no other.
In the 1st game after his rough and tumble practice, Andrea nearly quadrupled his season high at that point in the season with 15 points. Since that day he has been the Raptors best player of the bench as he knocks down 3-balls with ease and can drive the lane with aggression.
He had silenced the critics of himself and the Raptors organization alike. He is now climbing up the rookie of the year rankings. Just last night he racked up a team high 20 points to lead the Raptors passed the Houston Rockets. Right now he is just playing like 7 foot, 250 pound, #1 pick Andrea Bargnani.