The Toronto Raptors and head coach Nick Nurse are going to get a sneak peek at some very intriguing future NBA prospects over the next few weeks.
With a dearth of big men on this year's Canadian Senior Men's National team, Canada has opted to go with a pair of younger prospects in Purdue's Zach Edey and soon-to-be Alabama center Charles Bediako.
Bediako is a 6-foot-11, 19-year-old from St. Catherines, Ontario who is heading into his freshman season with the Crimson Tide next season. He's wiry and will need to fill out his frame a little bit more before he's drafted, but Nurse has already seen the kind of upside that made Bediako the 32nd ranked prospect in the nation, according to 247Sports.
"Charles is obviously, a smile when I see him, because as you know, he's young and he's really long and lanky, and he'll look young and lanky at times, then all of a sudden it'll all come together for him and he'll make a play that's much more mature for his body and his age," Nurse said. "You kinda sit and look into the future and you say, well that's what he's gonna kinda look like, fluidly, all the time when he kinda gets his legs under him a little bit and body fills out and some things like that."
Edey is a very different prospect. He's a 7-foot-4, 285-pound giant who averaged 8.7 points and 4.4 rebounds during his freshman season with the Boilermakers.
"He's big and he's got some hands," Nurse said. "You throw it up to him and he goes and catches it down there."
Maybe the most exciting NBA prospect on the team is Arizona's Bennedict Mathurin who made the somewhat surprising decision to return to university for his sophomore season rather than enter the draft this year. He's a 6-foot-7, uber athletic guard who 10.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and shot 47.1% from the floor and 41.8 from three-point range in his freshman season with the wildcats.
"Ben has looked, man, he's a nice player, man. He's a nice player," Nurse said. "He's made some really strong plays. He's not a million miles away from being ready for this team."
Nurse isn't supposed to let his Canada Basketball job and his Raptors job interfere with one another, but working with Team Canada this year should give Toronto the inside scoop when these three prospects enter the draft in the not too distant future.