TORONTO - Not surprisingly, Terrence Ross rookie year was filled with the highs and lows you would expect from a 21-year-old. Edinson Volquez Royals Jersey
. At times he dazzled, usually with his undeniable athleticism - winning the slam dunk contest at All-Star weekend - but just as often, if not more often, he would come back down to earth with the inconsistency and mental lapses associated with most first-year players. The Raptors eighth overall pick in 2012 averaged 6.4 points and 2.0 rebounds in 73 games but shot just 41 per cent from the field and saw his role minimized following the midseason trade for Rudy Gay. To his own admission, the guard was not physically or mentally prepared for the grind of an NBA season; that realization hitting him immediately in training camp a year ago. "I didnt know what to expect," he said of last years camp. "I didnt know how hard it would be, I didnt know how it would wear on your body. I think I was just kind of warn down from the whole draft process so I think that kind of took effect but this year I took time off, relaxed and came back prepared and ready to play." Now a 22-year-old sophomore, Ross knows what to expect three days into his second camp as a professional. "I feel like its easier now," he admitted Thursday after practice. "I havent been getting sore, I feel fresh, Im always loose, always ready to go [and] Im in great shape so I just feel good to go." His coaches have noticed the change but are still mindful of the challenge that faces Ross going into his second year; a challenge that will determine if hes ready to take his game to the next level. "Defensively he was competing [and] offensively he was knocking down shots," Dwane Casey said of Ross stand out practice from Wednesday. "So his thing is being consistent, bringing the consistency to his game. Thats his next step because last year was a typical rookie year, up and down." "[He] had a great start then tailed off, then bounced back again," Casey continued. "So his thing is bringing it every day and every time he steps on the floor." "But hes a great kid, hes giving everything he has, its just [the] consistency." Open Competition After three days back at the Air Canada Centre, Casey continues to rave about his teams effort level and competitive spirit early in camp. Although the Raptors third-year head coach spotted some tired legs in Thursday mornings practice - following two long days and heavy conditioning drills Wednesday evening - he has been impressed with the focus of his players. For many of them, their roles - and in some cases their jobs - are at stake. Although Casey has mixed up units over the first few days, the incumbent starting five of Gay, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson and Jonas Valanciunas is fully expected to reclaim their spot above the teams depth chart. Of the 12 other players in camp, only four are holdovers from last season and with an infusion of added depth comes an open competition for second-unit minutes. "Its open," Casey stated. "Were looking for those spots. We have a lot of people who can step in and take that opportunity. There are going to be minutes there, [the starters] cant play 48 [minutes]." The Raptors ranked eighth in bench scoring for the first half of last season, getting 37.5 points per game from their reserves but dropped to 25th (27.3 points per) after the acquisition of Gay, as the starters were asked to eat up more minutes. "Were looking for that second unit and that was our nemesis [last year]," said Casey. "So whoever that second group is has to create an identity to come in and score and defend, either hold serve or increase the score, you cant go the other way." Veteran D.J. Augustin is battling rookie Dwight Buycks for the backup point guard job behind Lowry - although Augustin should have a leg up going into the season based on experience - while Ross, Landry Fields and new comers Steve Novak and Austin Daye should push for minutes behind DeRozan and Gay on the wing. Up front, Tyler Hansbrough - who has been a standout early in camp - should be the first big off the bench while Quincy Acy and Aaron Gray return but may only factor in should injuries or foul trouble occur, or if Casey chooses to stay with a big lineup. The Raptors have one final roster spot available and three camp invitees - forward Chris Wright, guards Julyan Stone and Carlos Morais - vying for it. Its still too early to say whether one has stood out above the rest, per Casey, but the performance of those three players - all on non-guaranteed deals - should determine whether the team chooses to fill that 15th spot. Off To Halifax The team will continue training camp on the east coast as they return to Halifax for two practices on Friday and an intrasquad game Saturday. Unlike last fall, when they held five days of camp in Halifax, the team wont have time for much sightseeing this time around. Aside from a players-only dinner planned for Thursday evening it will be strictly business before they head to Boston for their first of eight preseason games Monday. Paulo Orlando Royals Jersey
. The Oilers will try to get back in the win column on Monday when they continue a four-game road trip with a battle against the Buffalo Sabres. Edmonton won its third straight game last Wednesday against visiting San Jose, beating the Sharks 3-0 as Scrivens stopped 59 shots to set an NHL record for saves in a regular-season shutout. Jarrod Dyson Royals Jersey
. - Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery was so busy in free agency he didnt mind having a few extra weeks to prepare for the draft. http://www.mlbroyalsjerseyteamshop.com/authentic-frank-white-royals-jersey/
. A wide-eyed 18-year-old visiting North America for only the second time in his young life, Caboclo immediately noticed the "big tower" his new home is best known for.MILWAUKEE - Rickie Weeks hit a two-out RBI single after Jonathan Lucroy moved to third on a balk, Francisco Rodriguez earned his league-leading 15th save and the Milwaukee Brewers snapped a three-game skid with a 5-4 win Saturday over the New York Yankees. Lucroy, Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez each homered off Yankees starter CC Sabathia. Weeks chopper skipped through the hole into left in the seventh off Alfredo Aceves (0-1), who was called for a balk two pitches earlier. Rodriguez allowed two flyouts to the warning track in right in a scoreless ninth. The veteran closer hasnt allowed a run in 19 appearances this season. Zach Duke (3-0) got the win after escaping a seventh-inning jam by getting Carlos Beltran to bounce into a double play. Lucroy and Ramirez hit back-to-back home runs in the third, and Gomez hit a solo shot to the upper deck off Sabathia, who allowed eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander allowed at least four runs in a game for the sixth time this year. Still, the Yankees rallied from two-run deficit on Mark Teixieras solo shot in the sixth and pinch-hitter Alfonso Sorianos RBI single off Duke that tied the game at 4 an inning . It put runners on first and second for the power-hitting Beltran. But Duke got him to bounce into the inning-ending, 5-4-3 double play. Weeks then came through for his first RBI of the season. He is the right-handed hitting half of a second-base platoon with Scooter Gennett, but he hasnt played much with Gennett. Weeks helmet flew off his head as he raced toward first on the single and he pointed to the dugout as the crowd showered him with cheers. Joakim Soria Royals Jersey
. It was enough cushion for the Brewers bullpen. Will Smith had two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth. Rodriguez got three flyouts in the ninth, though the outs by Brian Roberts and Kelly Johnson made the hometown fans nervous after sailing close to the wall. Sabathia only wished he was that lucky in his first start at Miller Park since Sept. 28, 2008. With the Brewers after a midseason trade from Cleveland, Sabathia tossed a complete-game victory against the Cubs to clinch the NL wild card. Gomez gave Sabathia a rude welcome back leading off the bottom of the first after sending a 1-1 pitch high over the left-field fence. The ball caromed off the window of a restaurant filled with spectators dining in the third deck. Three runs off Sabathia were unearned because they followed an error. NOTES: Ramirez left the game in the fourth with a strained left hamstring after fielding a bouncer. ... Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said RF Ryan Braun (right oblique strain) feels good. He is eligible to come off the disabled list in time for the start of a three-game series Tuesday against Pittsburgh. "Still not probably there, so we are (hopeful) for Tuesday but Im not sure," Roenicke said. "Maybe there is a little bit of tightness but it is not really bothering him." Braun took full cuts at batting practice Saturday, including a homer to dead centre. ... The Yankees send David Phelps (0-0) to the hill Sunday afternoon against the Brewers Matt Garza (2-3) to wrap up the three-game series. Jeter will be honoured in a pregame ceremony. NFL Jerseys China
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