Howard or Okafor?

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Sam Mitchell doesn't bother weighing in on the second-year power forward debate.

The Raptors coach was an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats, Toronto's opponents last night, when Charlotte had the second pick in the draft last year featuring Dwight Howard and Emeka Okafor. Howard went first to the Magic and Okafor went No. 2 to the Bobcats, but Mitchell said he would have been fine with either.

"We worked hard, but it was easy," Mitchell said. "We knew we were going to get Howard or Okafor (last season's rookie of the year). What was stressful about that? It wasn't really no stress. We knew we were going to get a quality big guy and it's hard to get quality big guys."

DIVERSE COACH

New Raptors assistant coach and Purdue legend Gene Keady recently co-wrote a book about his life -- Gene Keady: The Truth and Nothing But The Truth -- with long-time Purdue beat writer Jeff Washburn of the Lafayette Journal and Courier.

While some have dubbed Keady Mean Gene for his intimidating look on the sidelines, Washburn sees a another side to the NCAA veteran.

"He is exactly what you see. He is a hard-nosed competitor," Washburn said. "But away from the court, he is a compassionate, friendly and almost shy kind of guy. When he steps on the court, he becomes a different person."

But when he talks basketball, Keady doesn't beat around the bush.

"It doesn't seem like there are any jerks (on the Raptors). None," he said. "It seems like they are all good guys. They seem like they want to learn and that's what I am, a teacher."

FAMILIAR FACES

The WNBA's Charlotte Sting was holding a meet-and-greet with season-ticket holders yesterday and in the house was none other than tiny ex-Raptors point guard and Sting coach Muggsy Bogues.

Bogues' assistant with the Sting is Earl Cureton, who played nine games for the Raptors in 1996-97. One of the Sting's star players is Markham native Tammy Sutton-Brown.


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