Raptors 905 Players Transformed G League Experience into International Success
The Raptors 905 have seen plenty of success in the past four years. Accomplishments are highlighted by an NBA G League Championship during the 2016-17 season, accompanied by an all-time 21-4 road record. Development has been the hallmark of the 905 with many notable Toronto Raptors spending time with the club to refine their skills and impact the game at the NBA level. As the club enters its fifth season in the G League, former players carry on the culture of success in the next phase of their basketball careers. Norman Powell, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet are most notable, with each player averaging more than 16 points per game during their time with the 905. Siakam also picked up G League Finals MVP honours following a series performance where he averaged 18 points and 7.9 rebounds. For others, their time with the club allowed for development that led to opportunities for international experience. A few have become key contributors on their current team. Let's look back on some prominent players who utilized their time with Raptors 905 for international success.
Axel Toupane was a member of the 905 during its inaugural championship season winning Most Improved Player in 2015-16 and receiving three NBA call-ups. Following a successful championship run, Toupane headed overseas to join Zalgiris of the Lithuanian League. He helped the team to a third-place finish in the Euroleague after they successfully won their eighth LKL Championship. Most recently, Toupane has represented France at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Brady Heslip was another member of the 2016-17 championship team who parlayed his success with Raptors 905 into a contract overseas. Following his championship, Heslip signed with Trabzonspor in Turkey for the 2017-18 season and averaged 15.8 points. He went on to split time the following season in Germany and Istanbul averaging 12.4 points across both leagues. Heslip was also named to the Canadian Men's National Team currently competing in the FIBA World Cup.
Edy Tavares had already established himself as a dominant defensive force in his years before joining Raptors 905 for the 2016-17 season. He managed to take another step forward when he joined the club and had a stellar season winning Defensive Player of the Year and being named to the All-Star team. Tavares was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 905 playoff run in 2017, but returned to the club for the 2017-18 season after being waived by Cleveland. His stint would be short-lived as Real Madrid signed the centre after one game back. He was part of the Spanish club's 2017-18 Euroleague Championship playing alongside NBA star Luka Doncic.
Kaza Kajami-Keane has taken huge strides since joining Raptors 905 to start his professional journey. A stand-out at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ont., Kajami-Keane joined Raptors 905 during the 2017-18 season as an Open Tryout player. After developing all season as a steady back-up to eventual NBA G League MVP Lorenzo Brown, he signed with Landstede of the Dutch League for the 2018-19 season. There he led Lanstede to a DBL Championship - the first in club history - earning him playoff MVP honours. Kajami-Keane continued his strong play into the summer, which led to a spot on the Canadian Men's National Team competing in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Raptors 905 is extremely proud of these players and the long list of players who have used their time with the club to contribute to a winning culture. Continuing to build upon the team's winning foundation does not stop there. With Open Tryout just a day away, the team is excited to see who will be the next hidden talent to join Raptors 905 this season.
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