Skal Labissiere may be only Trail Blazer center available for Fan Fest

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Sunday evening's Fan Fest in Memorial Coliseum will be Trail Blazer fans' first look at several new players – but probably not a chance to see most of the team's impressive stable of big men.

As of Saturday, most of Portland's corps of centers were still on the sidelines.

Hassan Whiteside is nursing a sprained left ankle, Zach Collins has missed two days with a sprained finger while Pau Gasol is not expected to play until much closer to the start of the regular season, if at all during the exhibition games. And of course, Jusuf Nurkic is probably going to be out several more months while healing a broken leg.

That leaves Skal Labissiere as the one roster center who is ticketed for action Sunday in the free event that begins at 5 p.m. But don't sell 6-11 Haitian short – by all accounts Labissiere has had a very good training camp so far.

He is a skilled offensive player, who can shoot from distance, handle the ball and pass. In that final regular-season game last year when he had his only starting opportunity of the season, he scored 29 points on 12-17 from the field, including 2-2 on three-point attempts and was 3-4 from the foul line while hauling down 15 rebounds.

Portland acquired him Feb. 7 in a trade with Sacramento for Caleb Swanigan and he's been at the practice facility since before camp, working on his game.

"Coming back in early September, I've been figuring out my role on this team," he said after practice Saturday. "I know I'm not going to be trying to score all the time. This team has plenty of people who can score. I'm trying to focus on ways to impact the game, you know, like rolling hard, setting good screens, talking on defense."

Labissiere was intending to play summer league but suffered a shoulder injury a couple of weeks prior and was not able to suit up.

"I was going to get some reps with 'Ant' (Anfernee Simons) and 'GT' (Gary Trent Jr.), which would have been good," he said.

Labissiere is excited about the opportunity to work alongside veteran Pau Gasol this season.

"He's somebody I used to watch all the time, growing up," Labissiere said. "I watch him work out now and all that stuff is still there at a high level. I've told him already – I want to work out with him."

Labissiere hasn't had much of a chance to play in Portland after getting into 93 games his first two seasons with the Kings. He played in just nine for the Trail Blazers last year and is largely unknown to Portland fans.

But they will get a good look at him during Fan Fest, which will be telecast on NBC Sports Northwest. The only other center available will be training-camp invitee Moses Brown, 7-1 out of UCLA.

"Whatever is needed from me I will try to do," Labissiere said.

Skal Labissiere may be only Trail Blazer center available for Fan Fest originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest