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Maturation process of young Bruno Caboclo remains incomplete


Oh, Bruno. You silly young man.

Turns out young Mr. Caboclo’s first stint with the Brazilian national team ended a day or so early after an act of petulance in a game Saturday night got him kicked off the team at the AmeriCup thing down in Argentina.

Of course, I wasn’t there and the information as it dribbled out Saturday night made it sound like he refused to go back into the game – Brazil eventually lost to Mexico – in the second quarter.

Someone I know did talk to him in Medellin on Sunday morning, however, and there seemed to be a fair amount of spin coming from each side.

And then this, from the kid himself on the Instagram thingamabob yesterday:

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“I want to apologize to the Brazilian Basketball Federation for my conduct during last night’s game. I respect my coaches/teammates and disappointed that my emotions got in the way of our team’s goals. It’s an honor to represent the country I love and will humbly accept the consequences for my actions. I am growing as a professional each day and striving to make my fans, teammates, country and family proud.”

I think part of the issue with him – and he is only 21 even though that’s not a great excuse for a professional – is his mental toughness and ability to play through difficulty. I think there are those who know him who’d say his maturity level has not caught up to his talent level and that’s held him back.

I know him a little bit from the past three years, have had a few conversations around Raptors things and out here in Hazelville with the 905s and the thing I’ve always come away thinking is that he’s a “young” 20-year-old or 21-year-old or 19-year-old or whatever it is.

But look at this way.

When the kid arrived in North America he was 18 years old, could not speak the language, had no earthly idea about the level of cut-throat competition he was about to be thrown in against. It was unfair but it was necessary; he’s a freakishly long 6-9 athlete with above-average skill and Masai needed to get him early, knowing it would be a long – and at times tremendously challenging – process of turning him into an NBAer.

I don’t think Bruno was particularly ready for what awaited him – how could he be? – and while the Raptors offered as much support as they could, it’s a difficult process. There’s still support but at some point, there also has to be a measure of personal responsibility and I think that’s where we are in his progression.

Funny thing is, he’d been quite good in his first appearance for the national team. He had 11 and 11 in the first game of the AmeriCup and had played well in friendlies leading up to it. Now, I caution that playing well in international exhibitions is light years removed from playing in the NBA – hell, it’s light years from playing in the D/G League – and there’s also this fact:

He really missed out on playing ONE more game for Brazil, which is no big deal at all. Brazil finished its first round a 1-2 and didn’t advance to the semifinals so it’s not like he missed a week of high-level competition.

A little Monday morning Spin Doctors?

Sure, why not?

Was a very fun hour spent yesterday watching Sportsnet go through the top 40 Blue Jays – ranked – of all-time.

It’s one of those mindless endeavours where there is no “right” or “wrong” although Dwane Ward is criminally under-rated at No. 21. It is the only egregious error I can see.

The top 5 and likely 10 were no-brainers and No. 1 was a cinch and you should read this Brunt on Alomar because, well, you should always read Brunt and particularly on Alomar.

Now all we have to do is hang on for a year or two to do the Top 25 in 25 years of Raptors, right?

Someone please tell me why, when it’s not even September yet, that they’re turning a giant empty space by my local in a Halloween store already?

Did they move Halloween or something? It’s still at the end of October, right?

A quarter of a century ago – and, man, that sounds like a looooooooong time ago – there was the first Dream Team.

And they played Canada out at the Tournament of the Americas out in Portland and it was quite an event.

This oral history of it is thorough and well done and if you’re interested in the history of the program, you should read it.

Spoiler alert:

There was also a Canadian team that fell short of qualifying for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics because they lost to Venezuela in a win-or-go-home game, just as they did in 2015 going into Rio.

I don’t know how many of us would been at both games but as bitter as the 1992 defeat wasn’t nearly as costly or as startling as the one in Mexico.

Anyway, a young fella, Julian McKenzie, did an awful lot of work putting this together and when I read it last week in re-affirmed some things I knew and was a very nice trip down memory lane.

Yeah, we’re sticking to the summer schedule for another couple of weeks because this partially loafing lifestyle is something I could get used to.

So Monday, Wednesday and Friday this week with mail on Sunday and if you want to keep me busy – or just say hello – drop a query to askdoug@thestar.ca today if you’d like.

TORONTO STAR