Raptors 905 Host Open Tryouts

By Kelsea O'Brien | September 11, 2022

For the first time in over two years, the Raptors 905 held an open tryout in Toronto as they seek to find players to complete the 2022-23 season roster. Nearly 100 people made the trip to the University of Toronto, where they were put through a series of drills closely monitored and facilitated by the Raptors 905 coaching staff. Hopefuls then participated in short 3 vs. 3 and 1 vs. 1 games, concluding with a series of full games monitored by the 905 statistician team.

Head Coach Eric Khoury, who became the youngest head coach in Raptors 905 history when he replaced Coach Patrick Mutombo on July 17th, entrusted his coaching staff to properly evaluate each and every player at their respective stations, listening to their feedback and observing the players himself. 

“In such a compact setting, it’s pretty tough (to see each player) so a lot of it is trusting them to use their coaching acumen and knowledge to see how the guys move and lead and feel for the game,” says Khoury, whose own basketball journey began with the Raptors in 2012. “We did the stations in a way that was very 905 focused,” states Khoury, alluding to the unique style of basketball that the Raptors 905 have played since their inaugural season in 2015.

With each station lasting just 15 minutes, the coaching staff would give a brief description of the drill before stepping back to watch the participants execute it. Drawing from their vast knowledge and experience, each coach was able to strike a unique balance between evaluating a player’s abilities and teaching them ways to improve their game, ensuring that no matter the outcome, everyone who attended would leave with more than they arrived with.

“Personalities matter,” says one of the 905 assistants. “You’re building a team, it’s not just one person, so you’re trying as best as you can to find personalities that fit within the team.” 

Coaches focused not only on the players’ on-court skills, but on their leadership, teamwork, and character. 

“Who makes that extra pass, who does well under pressure, who is playing for the team, all of those things matter.”

While some attendees have professional experience, the common theme shared between the hopefuls was a chance to be one step closer to achieving their dream.

Among those petitioning for a chance to help the 905 win their second championship was YouTube sensation Cam Wilder, who is known worldwide for his streetball skills. 

“I got here on Tuesday,” says Wilder, who only intends to try out for the 905. 

Originally venturing from the United States to Toronto, Wilder had initially intended to do a Toronto-wide park takeover before hearing about the open tryout. 

“I was just going to do it for YouTube, but now I really want to make the team,” he admits after a morning of rigorous development. “It’s always been a dream.”

Wilder was one of a handful of players who had travelled from outside of the Greater Toronto Area for a chance to play.

Another contender was Robin Oron, who flew from his home in Holland to attend. Like Wilder, he only has intentions of trying out for the 905, citing their storied and documented development as a factor in this decision. Oron, who follows the G League from the Netherlands, already knew about the opportunity before his agent presented it to him. 

“There is a lot of talent here and it’s definitely the harder route, but this is the next step of my dream to play in the NBA,” said Oron.

His praises for the G League echo those who have played in the G League and for the Raptors 905. “This is a legit league and this was an incredible opportunity, so I just took it.”

Wilder and Oron are only two of the hopefuls who will wait for a phone call to determine whether or not they make it to the next round of tryouts. The 905 will host 20 finalists from the open tryout before making their final decision. The contender or contenders who make the team will join notable players such as Obadiah Noel (Raptors 905), Duane Notice (Raptors 905), and Xavier Moon (Los Angeles Clippers) whose professional journeys all began on the road to the six.