Mitchell still upset

DEAN MCNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

If Raptors coach Sam Mitchell is looking to stop outsiders from advising his players, he has a long hard hill to climb, veteran forward Jalen Rose said yesterday. Mitchell again scolded unnamed players during practice at the Air Canada Centre for listening to people not connected to the team on matters of playing time and playing style.

"I just told them to be careful about the information other people give them," Mitchell said, whose team plays host to the expansion Charlotte Bobcats today.

"My main concern is that there are too many people giving them too much information. We want certain guys to do certain things and to concentrate on those things. Let us determine when to add to that."

The coach said that he reminded players that they have coaches who work with them every day and it is those people who they should be listening to regarding such matters.

Mitchell had hinted after the Raptors' 118-109 loss to the Washington Wizards Friday that some players were distracted by these so-called outsiders exerting influence on them.

While Mitchell adamantly refused to name the players he suspected of having this problem, it was generally felt that his choices as starters might be the crux of the issue.

And Rose has let it be known that he has been unhappy coming off the bench for the past month, even though he is the club's leading scorer in that period.

"I can't control whether I start or not," Rose said. "Of course you want to be the guy who starts, if I didn't there would be something wrong with me."

Rose, however, said that all players get advice from people away from the game, whether they want it or not and it can't be made to just go away, no matter what the coach says.

"Off the floor and away from the court you are human so you hear stuff," he said. "I read the papers and my family and friends do also.

"But at the end of the day I am a pro so when they toss the ball up I'm ready to go and I play to win."

Rose said that what a player can do is make up his own mind about things.

"Opinions are like butt holes, everybody's got them and everybody knows someone who has one," he said.

Rose said that there is also the subject of trades that players have to deal with.

While he hears plenty of talk about trades that involve him -- most recently, speculation had him going to the New York Knicks for Penny Hardaway -- he said he is not letting it take away from his game.

"I am not the one making the calls on (trades)," he said.

Rose rejected the notion that as a veteran his skills might be better utilized in a role where he can bring energy off the bench rather than have to sustain it 30 minutes or more as a starter.

"Physically I am not old," Rose said. "I am not on my way out. I've still got some years left in me."


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