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  Thu, February 5, 2004


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Moiso becoming a big Kahuna in T.O.

By BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

Raptors coach Kevin O'Neill has a favourite quote from the movie Pulp Fiction.

It has to do with two or more individuals congratulating themselves too early when things appear to be going well. We can't tell you exactly what the quote is, of course, because it contains language not suitable for a newspaper, even this one. But if you watch the movie again, you probably won't have too much trouble picking it out.

Anyway, O'Neill was prompted to think of the quote last night when he was asked about Jerome Moiso, the 6-foot-10, 25-year-old forward who has played far more in the Raptors' past five games that he had in the previous 42.

It's not that Moiso is completely out of O'Neill's doghouse. And speaking of dogs, Moiso likely never will be as popular among Raptors fans as another Jerome, that being the departed Jerome (Junk Yard Dog) Williams. Moiso is a native of France and in keeping with the dog theme, he could start calling himself The Poodle, but that might not help his reputation.

In any event, Moiso has made a positive impact particularly in the past two games. Last night he racked up 10 points and 12 rebounds in 31 minutes in the Raptors' 110-90 victory against the visiting Orlando Magic, which was without Tracy McGrady because of back spasms. On Tuesday Moiso had 10 points and 11 rebounds in 28 minutes in the Raptors' 93-80 win at Philadelphia.

Moiso, who had been touted by Raptors management as a significant off-season signing, doesn't really know why he's playing now when he wasn't playing before. Rookie centre Chris Bosh was unavailable last night because of an ankle sprain, but Moiso had been making his way back toward consciousness before Bosh suffered that injury on Tuesday.

"No explanation so far, only speculation," Moiso said.

Moiso was as shocked as anyone when O'Neill called his name during a game a week ago yesterday. It was the first time Moiso had smelled the court in a month and a half.

"Oh, man," Moiso recalled. "I don't know if you guys could see it, but I was kind of like, 'What?' I had to ask Lamond Murray, who was sitting next to me, 'Did he call me?' "

A cynic might suggest O'Neill started to play Moiso right around the time rumours started to circulate that Raptors general manager Glen Grunwald -- who obviously chose to sign Moiso -- is going to get a contract extension. On the other hand, the scuttlebutt among some observers is that Moiso sometimes doesn't work hard enough in practice to earn any court time.

"People must think I don't want (Moiso) to succeed," O'Neill said. "Opportunity comes in a lot of different ways, through firings, injuries, trades, signings. It just comes down to, are you ready to play your minutes when you get a chance?

"We need (Moiso's) size. Believe me, I want every one of our guys to play great."

O'Neill did offer a word of caution, in the same vein as that Pulp Fiction quote.

"Let's be honest, in five years Jerome has had two double-doubles," O'Neill said. Actually, it's three years and four double-doubles, including last night. But we get the point.

The main reason Moiso chose to come to Toronto -- and he did have a choice -- was he was told he was going to get an opportunity to play. A lot of players get told that and the harsh reality of the NBA is it doesn't always come true.

"I thought about it a few times," Moiso said when asked if he has questioned his decision to join the Raptors. "I almost forgot I could (contribute). It's still there, I just have to get back to it and be confident. Practice and all that stuff, working out, is good, but I have to be out there."

In the long run, if O'Neill and Moiso can come to a working agreement, it's good for the Raptors.

And that's no fiction, pulp or otherwise.









Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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