Psychologist helping Alston

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:18 AM ET

Troubled Raptor Rafer Alston is attempting to get a handle on his often volatile behaviour by meeting with Maple Leafs team psychologist Paul Dennis. Alston, who is the Raptors starting point guard, has found himself caught in the middle of numerous controversies this season including a recent report that he almost went toe-to-toe with head coach Sam Mitchell in Cleveland. He also threatened to quit the team and the NBA following a game in Boston on Dec. 3 and was suspended by the Raptors for two games for conduct detrimental to the team after he walked out during a practice.

Alston told the Sun that his sessions with Dennis have been constructive and that he will continue to consult the psychologist, who also is the Leafs' player development coach.

NEGATIVE SITUATIONS

"It helps you deal with emotions and (negative) situations," Alston said. "I find it really helpful.

"We talk about dealing with your reactions, your emotions when you're upset about something," said Alston, who also has had to deal with embarrassing issues from his past which have surfaced this season in the Toronto media, including reports that he once dropped a weight on the groin of a sleeping teammate and was charged for beating an ex-girlfriend in the 1990s.

Despite his willingness to seek professional help, Alston insisted that he did nothing wrong in Cleveland (Mitchell denied there was a physical confrontation), or that he deserved to be benched after receiving a technical foul during the game in Boston, suggesting that he isn't the only person with the Raptors who would do well by consulting Dennis.

"The situation in Boston. Think about it," he said. "I got a technical foul and I'm told to go to the locker-room. People get technical fouls every day in this game, they're not told to go to the locker-room.

Things like that can be avoided. And when they're not, it's like 'the player has a bad attitude.' I have no attitude, I have no problem."

Raptors management declined to comment on Alston's trips to a psychologist.

The Raptors (20-31) are hoping to halt a four-game losing skid when they play host to the Los Angeles Clippers (23-27) at the Air Canada Centre tonight.


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