For Toronto Raptors rookies Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross, and Quincy Acy, Monday’s Media Day was another step toward settling in with their new city and team.
Ross and Acy seem to have formed an especially strong friendship as both players shared stories of hanging out with each other to members of the media.
“He’ll either come to my house or I’ll go to his house,” said Ross. “Or we’ll go out everyday. We’ll go out to the mall. We’ll do something in Toronto so we’re just having fun with it right now.”
And Acy admits that having Ross around has been a huge help in terms of adjusting to life in the NBA.
“We hangout all the time,” Acy said. “He’s like a brother already. We’re going through the whole process together and we talk to each other everyday.
While Valanciunas is still acclimatizing to North American life, one may expect to see him walking around the city with Linus Kleiza. But according to Acy, the seven-foot Lithuanian is often joining Ross and himself away from the basketball court.
“We actually went out to eat and he didn’t know what valet parking was,” said Acy to the amusement of the assembled reporters. “They asked him for his keys and he looked at me like ‘what?’ Everybody’s getting adjusted and it’s fun to do it together.”
It seems the veteran players are also providing assistance to the three rookies.
The young and energetic Acy seemed especially happy with the way that some of the older and more experienced players are helping him out.
“Everybody does a great job of being hands-on and just seeing if I’m alright and making sure I know everything.”
Ross echoed the sentiment and believes communication with the older players will do a lot to help him improve his game.
“Just talk to the vets,” he said. “I think practice will sort that out. And really just ask all the guys. Get their advice, pick their brains, and put in work.”
But while things are going well so far, the three rookies will be put to the test when the Raptors tip off their regular season on Oct. 31.
All three players realize that there’s a large disparity between the quality of play in the NBA compared to the NCAA or European basketball.
“It’s just a little more physical, guys are a lot stronger, game’s a little faster,” Ross said.
“The speed of the game,” agreed Acy. “Everybody here is bigger, faster, stronger. You’ve just got to get used to it. That’s the main thing.”
Valanciunas also spoke of the physicality of playing in the NBA required.
“They’re really strong in this league. Centres are huge. I’m working everyday in the weightlifting room to gain more weight and gain more power,” he said.
Each of the three rookies bring something different to the Toronto Raptors. And Ross, just like Raptors fans everywhere, is optimistic that the combination of what each player can bring will make for a playoff season.
“I feel like we have the right pieces to get to the playoffs. Now it’s just about putting in the work and going out there to handle business.”