Back home again in Indiana

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

INDIANAPOLIS -- Raptors assistant coach Gene Keady, who spent 25 years coaching Indiana powerhouse Purdue University was the most sought-after interview in Indiana yesterday.

Keady, a legend in U.S. college basketball, said he has been pleasantly surprised by how much he is enjoying the NBA experience.

"I'm not mad at anybody for not going to class, I don't have to make any recruiting calls tonight, I don't have alumni dinners to go to, I'm just coaching basketball and having fun," said Keady, adding that the players have been receptive to his input.

"I think the (young Raptors) are more coachable than I thought they would be," said Keady, who has worked extensively with Raptors' rookies Charlie Villanueva, Joey Graham and Jose Calderon.

"They listen. Like Jose passes the ball off the dribble with one hand too much, and I want two-hand passes, and he's trying to do that."

Jalen Rose, who had many battles with Purdue teams over the years when he was a star at Michigan, still can't believe that he is now on the same side as Keady.

"We have a lot of stories and we talked about (those games), but we're going to keep those off camera," Rose said, with a laugh. "He's definitely one of a kind and what an irony, being a Michigan man, I never thought Gene Keady and I would ever be on the same team."

INSIDE SCOOP

Told by an Indiana TV reporter during the morning shootaround yesterday that Pacers all-star forward Jermaine O'Neal was doubtful for the Raptors game after missing the last two practices due to back spasms, Toronto coach Sam Mitchell replied:"I'm sure the Pacers really appreciate you telling us that, because we weren't aware that he hasn't practiced."

LAUGHING ROB

Raptors GM Rob Babcock laughed off rumours of a three-way deal between Toronto, the L.A. Lakers and the Indiana Pacers that would involve the Raptors' Rose and Pacers malcontent Ron Artest. "I honestly haven't talked to anyone with L.A. in at least a month," he said.


Videos

Photos