Raptors Watch

Steve Buffery -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

O'NEILL HAS MADE STRONG IMPRESSION

KEVIN O'NEILL deserves another chance to be a head coach in the NBA, either with the Raptors or another team, veteran forward Michael Curry said yesterday.

The rookie head coach has one more year on his contract, but the consensus is that he'll follow former general manager Glen Grunwald out the door when the season ends.

However, Curry, who has 10 years in the league, believes that O'Neill will shine as a head bench boss in the NBA, eventually.

"He prepares well, he's a basketball guy, he's a gym rat. When you have those qualities going for you, you're going to get an opportunity," said Curry, adding that O'Neill will be back as a head coach, even if that means becoming an assistant again.

"I spent most of my career on a year-by-year contract," Curry said. "So, all I know, you play for right here, right now. You don't worry about what's in the future, you take care of the present. It's the same way in coaching. He'll be a head coach in this league (again)."

AN APPEAL FROM VINCE: Vince Carter said there is one major reason why the Raptors cannot throw in the towel this season with six games left, even when they are mathematically eliminated this week, which could come as early as tomorrow when they play in Cleveland.

"Fan support," he said. "We have to let them know that we're not giving up on the season. Let's not just give up and tank the season."

TOO EARLY: The Raptors are 6-7 in early Sunday afternoon games at home.

"Early games over the history of the NBA tend to favour the home teams," Curry said. "If we take care of those games (this season) we're right in the playoff hunt right now."

AROUND THE RIM: Chris Bosh, Dion Glover, Donyell Marshall and Curry will be in San Antonio tonight for the NCAA championship game between Connecticut and Georgia Tech. Marshall attended UConn while Bosh and Glover are Georgia Tech guys. Curry went to Georgia Southern, so we can just assume that he's a big college hoops fan ... Interim GM Jack McCloskey will be in town tomorrow for organizational meets.


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