Coach likes look of Cook

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:46 AM ET

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- The Raptors may have to purchase a few sections of tickets when they visit Madison Square Garden next year.

If New York-born point guard Omar Cook continues to impress Raptors brass, the team may have three players from the Big Apple on its opening-night roster.

"Omar can definitely figure in here," Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said after watching Cook and the team's summer leaguers practice yesterday. "We're not going to go into the season with just two point guards like we did last year. We're going to have three. Omar is someone we'll definitely consider because we were very pleased with how he played and handled himself last year (after he signed a 10-day contract April 9)."

The other New Yorkers on the Raptors are starting point guard Rafer Alston and first-round pick Charlie Villanueva.

Cook's fate probably will be determined by other players. Veteran point guard Alvin Williams underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee last year and nobody knows if he will be able to return to the NBA.

"You don't know (with Williams)," Mitchell said. "Our plan has to be as if we're not going to have him."

Cook didn't look out of place after coming up from the NBDL last year, averaging 4.6 points, 4.4 assists and 14.8 minutes in five games.

"I'm confident," Cook said. "I proved I belonged in the NBA last year ... My basketball is going to be talking for itself."

The Raptors added point guard depth when they landed 6-foot-5 Croatian Roko Ukic, an expected first-round pick, in the second round last month, but he still needs to negotiate a buyout with his Croatian team and the Raptors need to sign him.

Raptors general manager Rob Babcock would like to have Ukic at summer camp, but he's not panicking.

"Any time you take an international player, if you're not prepared to go through all the extra things you have to do to secure a player's services, you're kidding yourself," he said.


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