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Dick looking to soak up knowledge in first Raptors pre-season training camp


BURNABY, B.C. — Gradey Dick is doing his best to take it all in.

The Raptors' first round pick, 13th overall, from the 2023 draft is taking part in his first pre-season camp as an NBA player in Burnaby, B.C. and looking to learn.

"The change has been great for me personally," Dick said about his brief time at training camp.

His goal is pretty simple, he added.

“Being that sponge, soaking up that knowledge. Being someone willing to learn everything."

Dick was one-and-done after his freshman year at the University of Kansas, where he averaged 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game.

He started all 36 games for the Jayhawks while shooting better than 40 per cent from three-point range. He made 83 three-pointers, a program record for a freshman.

There has been a learning curve when it comes to evolving from what the Wichita-born forward was used to in college to the pro game.

"One of the biggest changes is probably the spacing of the court, it’s a lot more wide open," said Dick.

"Learning the different angles of the different passes with a bigger court. I think I've gotten better with the overall understanding of the game, the pace of the game."

Veterans Garrett Temple, Thad Young and Otto Porter Jr. have taken to the youngster, sitting with him while travelling and doing shooting practice with him on the third day of training camp.

Temple was an off-season acquisition for the Raptors after he was waived by his hometown New Orleans Pelicans.

It's something the Raptors head coach Darko Rajakovic is pleased to see.

"Garrett is already taking him under the wing," he said. "Veterans in this league like to mess around with the rookies, that comes with the territory. It’s OK to do that but you've got to take care of those guys, you've got to show them the ropes first.”

Dennis Schroder, another off-season signing for the Raptors, has also been mentoring Dick.

"We've been doing some shooting games … since his first practice. He's a great personality. We already all got along before we got here so when we added him it was a plus," said Dick about his teammate.

Veteran Raptor Pascal Siakam has also noticed the rookie's eagerness to learn.

"He's young, he's going to have to learn and continue to get better," Siakam said. "But the most important thing is he's willing to listen. When you talk to him, he seems attentive and that's all you can ask for."

Dick played in the summer league for the Raptors, growing into his role on the team.

In his final summer league game, he had 21 points on 50 per cent shooting, five rebounds, two steals and a block.

But the rookie is looking forward to testing himself in an NBA pre-season game against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday night.

"This is a testament to all the hard work and everything and it’s paying off. Summer league was an amazing time and it’s a real deal now."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 5, 2023.