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It’s a new era for Raptors Uprising GC.

For the first time in franchise history, the Toronto Raptors’ NBA 2K League outfit had a top-10 pick in the draft, and they had a new manager at the helm making the pick.

With the No. 7 overall pick of the 2022 NBA 2K League draft Saturday, the Uprising took Emmanuel (FantaSZN) Gosman, a highly touted guard within the NBA 2K scene from San Francisco, who is now getting his first crack at playing in the NBA 2K League.

Gosman is best known for his play in 3-on-3 formats of the game, a new mode that will be coming to the NBA 2K League in Season 5.

“He is one of the best players on the sticks in terms of his dribble ability. He’s known as a dribble God,” said the team’s new manager Kevin Truong. “He is the sharpest point guard in terms of technical skill.”

Additionally, the Uprising took Xavier (Big Saint) St. John, a native of St. Louis, in the second round. The team actually traded up from the No. 45 pick in the draft, along with a 2023 first-rounder, in order to take St. John at No. 23.

“We didn’t think we’d get Saint at that position,” Truong said. “So, getting a lock (lockdown defender archetype) at No. 45 we didn’t want to take that risk. We knew that we would get the last lock in the draft and we were like, ‘We have a championship-calibre team, let’s trade up.’

“So, we had a lot of good options and Saint was our No. 1 and we just didn’t think we’d get him. We thought he would go in the first 15 picks and he was there, so it was a no-brainer. We grabbed him.”

These moves are the first significant ones of Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment’s new esports manager Truong.

Truong takes over for Shane Talbot, who is moving onto a new opportunity that he hasn’t disclosed yet, and while he doesn’t have a ton of experience within the NBA 2K space, his background does lend itself well to managing a major esports operation.

For the last two and a half years, Truong held the Head of Esports role at the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, where he built “Quest to Conquer Cancer,” a video game fundraising program that saw it working with celebrity gamers, esports teams and game publishers to raise money for cancer research.

And before that, Truong worked for Canadian wellness company Medcan where he helped develop their “Power Project” program for high-performing youth athletes from underserved communities. He was the head mentor of that program for six years, putting an emphasis on mental performance.

Truong also worked with the University of Toronto’s League of Legends team that competed in uLoL in 2019.

“One thing led to another and now I’m here,” said Truong. “I’ve been here about a month and a half, it’s an absolute dream job, a ton of work – a ridiculous amount of work – but it’s such a strong foundation and I’m really just excited to take this to the next level.”

Truong’s responsibilities won’t only be tied to Raptors Uprising GC as he also needs to come up with a gaming strategy around the Toronto Maple Leafs and is managing MLSE’s eMLS player Nawid (GoalMachine) Zoorzai and has plans to build a new esports training facility inside Coca-Cola Coliseum, but a lot of his success will likely be tied to how the Uprising perform.

The roster he inherited is a veteran group that includes the very first draft pick in 2K League history in Artreyo (Dimez) Boyd, whom the team traded for last season, and the Uprising’s first-ever draft pick Kenneth (Kenny Got Work) Hailey, who won MVP in the 2020 season, helping the Uprising to an undefeated regular season.

With veterans like that who have been around in the league since its inception, Truong felt confident in making decisions, despite his newness to 2K as an esport.

“We actually meet with the guys every single week to let them know, ‘Here’s what we’re thinking,’ ” said Truong. “It’s great because we have Kenny, we have Dimez, we have all veterans who are leaders and are willing to put the team first.”

So while there’s a lot of new coming to the Uprising, there still remains a fair bit of familiarity.

Whether that’s good or bad for the fate of the franchise remains yet to be seen.