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Raptors Dwight Buycks, Toronto Is The Same As The States

The Toronto Raptors rookie point guard Dwight Buycks was a MVP in Europe, but he is loving his time back in the States – well Toronto, Canada – but that’s close enough. From language to hair cuts to food, it’s almost like being home.

“There isn’t really too much difference (in Europe), it is just being back home in the States is always better than being overseas,” Buycks said. “(Canada) is pretty much the same, actually I feel like I am in the States. It is a nice city and you get a lot of the food that you eat in the States. Overseas, you know you are overseas by the food, but we have the same stuff (here), so there isn’t really too much of a difference.”

Off the court, Buycks has been able to get back to all of the typical North American pastimes of going his favorite restaurants, the mall and video games.

“Off the court I definitely go to the mall,” Buycks said. “The last restaurant I went to eat at was called Jacks – something like that – and Earls, that one too. (We play) video games, the normal stuff that we do.”

Being only an hour and a half drive from Buffalo, New York, it shouldn’t come as much of surprise that Toronto is a lot like many bigger American cities – the same stores, the same restaurants – and one of the unexpected big advantages Buycks found was he could now get a decent hair cut as noted by his teammate Julyan Stone.

“I noticed you cut your hair since you returned to the States,” Stone said as he poked fun at Buycks’ hair style from last season.

“I had braids three years ago and in France last year, I had a mohawk the whole year,” Stone responded. “When you are overseas, you don’t have that many connections to a guy who can really cut hair real good and I had to make the best of it. If you look at the pictures of me from overseas to now, you’ll see a little difference in the cut. Definitely it’s much better in a city where if I need a hair cut there is always somebody on the team that knows somebody who can cut hair.”

Stone also razed his teammate with some questions about playing overseas and Buycks did his best to answer him.

Julyan Stone asked, “What is the biggest adjustment from the European game to the NBA?”

“The biggest adjustment is there is a lot more space over here,” Buycks explained. “Overseas, it is real packed in, so you have to knock down shots, but over here, I’ve had to adjust to a lot of space (and a need to) make plays for yourself and make plays for your teammates. You play against guys that are good at every position, so a lot (of guys) can hold their own. Overseas, there is a lot more team involved where you pack the paint and you don’t let one person beat you. A lot of people in the NBA play one-on-one defense. Certain teams have help defense, but not too much, so you got to be able to make plays.”

Buycks got a few shots at cracking the rotation early in the season, but with the additions of Greivis Vasquez and Nando De Colo, he has slipped well down the depth chart. However, that doesn’t mean Buycks is wasting his time. He is using this opportunity to get better.

“Just doing extra stuff, working out and getting shots up, (I am) just staying ready for whatever,” Buycks said. “I am just putting in a lot of extra time working on my game. We play 2-on-2s, 3-on-3s to keep conditioning going for the guys with limited minutes.

“With me not playing, I feel I have been going even harder with my workouts, putting the time in watching film. It is real busy when you are playing and I am not playing as much, (so) I am working on a shot or adding this to my game and I have been trying to do that and this summer is going to be big for me to just continue to work.”

Plus, Buycks has been enjoying his time in Toronto playing for a winning team with a good group of guys.

“It’s been real good,” Buycks said. “It always feels good to win and I feel that everybody is just for each other. When you got a group of guys that are for each other, the sky’s the limit and I feel that has been a great thing for us this year. Everybody has been playing for each other and it’s a great experience in the locker room and off the court.”

Buycks is happy to be back in North America with the comforts he is used to and on a winning team with a great locker room. Expect to see him back in NBA Summer League again in July where he made a huge impression last year and will likely make an even bigger impression this summer.


Stephen_Brotherston_inside Stephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.


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