Hedo loves the spotlight

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:12 PM ET

TORONTO - Hedo Turkoglu was only half-joking when he was overheard telling people how he couldn’t wait to show his face in Toronto.

In the aftermath of an ugly loss to his former team in Vancouver, Turkoglu could he heard saying: “I can’t wait to go back.”

When the Phoenix Suns played host to the Raptors on Oct. 6, the scene inside Rogers Arena was unlike any one has ever, or likely will ever see.

Turkoglu was booed when he was introduced, when he touched the ball, but was cheered by Phoenix’s followers when he finally scored a bucket.

Steve Nash was showered with applause, much like he will on Sunday, providing a rare moment when a hero and anti-hero were cast. And they’re on the same team.

Turkoglu loves the attention, much like he basked in the booing that greeted last season when Toronto visited Portland, a city Turkoglu spurned to sign with Toronto last off-season.

Players of Turkoglu’s ilk don’t care about the booing, in fact most players feed off it.

What’s important to Turkoglu is his ongoing adjustment at playing power forward, a position so foreign that he admittedly has acknowledged the growing pains.

“The new position is hard, I’ve never played the four in my life,” Turkoglu was quoted as saying earlier this pre-season. “That’s the hardest part for me to learn. I’ve been playing the three (small forward) all my life; sometimes even the one (point guard).

“I’m trying to learn on defence too. On the pick-and-roll I have to show, try to get in front of them, then get back to rebound. So those kind of things wear me down too, because I’m playing the game so physical. Physical guys get physical with me, and I have to do a better job of trying to push them out and not let them catch the ball very close to the basket where they can be really dangerous.”

The Suns are 1-4, aren’t scoring at the clip they’ve become accustomed, are getting outrebounded an average of seven boards a night and are yielding an average of 108.2 points entering Sunday’s matinee at the ACC.

Turkoglu, who was limited to nine minutes because of a back bruise two games ago, has started all five games, averaging 18.4 minutes, 5.2 points and shooting 31%.


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