Centres will flop

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:59 AM ET

Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said last night that Loren Woods and Rafael Araujo will "flip-flop" for the rest of the season as the club's starting centre.

"I think for those two now it's going to be game by game," Mitchell said. "Loren brings length and a little more athleticism, but Hoffa brings a physical presence and a toughness. Hoffa probably is a little more skilled than he has shown, but it takes time."

Woods started early this season, but barely had played in months when he was called upon to start last Sunday, when Araujo had the flu. Araujo's insertion in the starting lineup had been controversial, with the widespread feeling being that Mitchell was ordered -- or at least strongly encouraged -- by Raptors general manager Rob Babcock to the start the rookie.

"It's a little funny, but stranger things have happened in the NBA," said Woods when asked about going from starting, to not playing at all, to starting again. "I'm not special. I'm not the first and I'm not the last."

Woods started last night against the Chicago Bulls. Mitchell said Araujo was "still weak" from the flu, but Araujo said his health was not an issue.

"My flu is fine," Araujo said. "It knocked me down Saturday night. I could have played Sunday but I was really weak. I'm 100% now."

LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON

Andy Rautins is going to follow in his father Leo's footsteps. Andy, a shooting guard, has decided to accept an offer to play basketball at Syracuse University next season. Leo, a Raptors broadcaster and the head coach of the Canadian men's national team, was a standout at Syracuse before moving on to the NBA.

SPEAKERS' CORNER

Canada Basketball announced that Babcock will be the keynote speaker at the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame induction dinner on May 26 in Toronto. Former national-team players Gerald Kazanowski and Bill Wennington -- now a Bulls broadcaster -- will be enshrined, while Raptors founder John Bitove will be presented with the Dr. James Naismith award of excellence.


Photos