Mo adds strength to speed

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

Forget Mo Pete. Morris Peterson's new nickname should be Mo Pipes.

Peterson arrived at training camp last year in the best shape of his life and ended up playing every regular-season game, while averaging more than 30 minutes per outing.

This year, the man known as Mo Pete has arrived at camp still in good shape but with an added five to 10 pounds of muscle. Indeed, walking across the club's practice court yesterday, Peterson looked as much a wrestler as a basketball player. His arms have much more size and definition.

All part of a plan, Peterson said, to be able to maintain strength and stamina over the 82-game schedule while being able to play even tougher on defence.

"Last year, I felt I was getting pushed around a little bit," Peterson said. "I still have my quickness now, but I'm a little bigger. So I feel it's a good combination. Speed and strength."

More than just building muscle on his arms and shoulders, Peterson, who only took a couple of weeks off from training this summer after having his left knee drained, said that he worked on his core strength.

Peterson, 28, averaged 12.5 points and 4.1 rebounds last year, but played much better defensively. He hopes to continue that trend this season while contributing more in the leadership department as well.

Meanwhile, don't expect any cuts from training camp until near the end of pre-season schedule.

Head coach Sam Mitchell wants a chance to see all the club's training camp invitees in game action before he starts making personnel decisions.

"They all deserve a chance to get some minutes, so I'm going to try to give them some minutes," Mitchell said. "I like these guys. I wish I could keep all 19. I really do. These guys work hard, they work well together. They pull for each other.

"It will all unfold once we start to play some games," Mitchell said, about the roster. "Why make that decision when I don't have to?"

The Raptors open their pre-season playing host to Utah on Wednesday.


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