Last summer the Toronto Raptors drafted Bruno Bruno Caboclo as a project player and planned to use the NBA D-League to accelerate his development. Unfortunately the Raptors attempt to buy a minor league team fell through and their only option was the independently operated Fort Wayne Mad Ants. This summer Toronto successfully purchased a team in Mississauga and entered it into the D-League as the Raptors 905. An owned D-League franchise is going to be huge for Caboclo and every other player not quite ready for prime time on the Raptors.
The Mad Ants were never really interested in developing teenagers and rather than getting some much needed playing time, Caboclo was treated to a string of DNP-CDs. The Mad Ants did successfully crush his confidence and send a young player back to Toronto who played worse than before he was farmed out.
“It was embarrassing,” Caboclo said about his Mad Ants experience. “I think (it will be easier this year) because it will be our team. It is just a few steps from here, so it will be much easier for me.”
Another big factor for Caboclo remains the development of his English language skills. Last season Toronto arranged for a English tutor to help him on a daily basis, but that didn’t work out so well when traveling to Fort Wayne and being in an unfamiliar situation with coaches he didn’t know and no one to translate for him was certainly a factor in that bad experience.
This year Caboclo’s English is noticeably better than at the end of last season and he’ll need to keep improving if he is to pick up on everything he needs to learn. Those English lessons from last year are starting to sink in.
“I didn’t work (on my English this summer), it is coming natural(ly),” Caboclo said. “(My tutor) has helped me a lot. I am tried to come back at the start of the season to get better at my English because I need it.”
Caboclo’s goal in training camp is to try and not look so lost on the court and he believes things will go better this time around. There is nothing like a fresh start to a new season.
“My summer was great,” Caboclo said. “I am feeling good. I can’t wait until we start the season.
“Last year I learned a lot, but I couldn’t do it on the court, but this year I have more time, I know the plays and everything and what the coach wants me to do on the court. I am more relaxed this year. I hope I get a lot of minutes, but I will try to do my best to help the team by doing nothing wrong and keep getting better.”
Caboclo is a nice kid who will work hard and be excited to play for the Raptors 905. He needs the minutes and he knows it. His goal of ‘doing nothing wrong’ is spot on for this point in his development. Caboclo has NBA size, length and skills, he just needs to learn how to use them and the D-League is the ideal place to figure it out.