Wednesday , Jun , 28 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Colangelo begins reign with Raptors by selecting Italian Bargnani

New York, NY (Sports Network) – Bryan Colangelo’s first major personnel
decision as president and general manager of Toronto had an international
feel, as the Raptors selected Italian superstar Andrea Bargnani with the first
selection in the 2006 NBA Draft.

Bargnani showed off an NBA-caliber offensive skill set while playing for
Benetton Treviso in Italy last season. Scouts have raved about the 6-foot-11,
240-pound forward’s quick release and deft touch from the perimeter.

The selection of Bargnani adds a proven shooter to the equation, though like
many European stars, scouts are adamant that the forward must spend
significant time in the weight room to improve his inside game.

While a project, Bargnani caught Colangelo’s eye minutes after the general
manager learned he had the task of selecting a prime prospect with the top
pick in the draft.

He indicated his desire to pick the Italian superstar after naming Maurizio
Gherardini vice president and assistant general manager last week. Gherardini
was the general manager of Benetton Treviso, the champions of the Lega A
playoffs.

Colangelo was hired by the Raptors in late February to build a playoff-caliber
club centered around an athletic frontline of Chris Bosh and Charlie
Villanueva.