Villanueva to get award

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:32 AM ET

Charlie Villanueva was rewarded for his solid play on the court when he was selected to play in the NBA all-star rookie-sophomore challenge last month.

Now, the Raptors rookie forward is getting some recognition for his off-court work.

The NBA announced yesterday that Villanueva will receive the Community Assist Award for the month of February.

In almost every arena on the road, Villanueva visits with people affected by Alopecia Areata, a hair-loss condition the New Yorker has been living with since childhood.

Villanueva is the spokesperson for the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.

Villanueva will receive the David Robinson Plaque and a $5,000 gift will be given to the NAAF in his honour.

GOOD NIGHT FOR GRAHAM

He wasn't the difference maker in the game's deciding final minutes, but Raptors rookie forward Joey Graham did impress coach Sam Mitchell Sunday in a 93-89 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Graham, who has struggled to earn consistent playing time, had eight points and six rebounds Sunday.

"I just think we're trying to get him to be aggressive and let his natural talent take over and not be hesitant," Mitchell said. For the most part, we felt like he did that (Sunday).

"He played well. He's just got to build on that and keep going."

TEAMING UP

Canada Basketball and the Raptors announced yesterday they have entered into a partnership, which will see the organizations work together on several projects.

Included is an eight-city, three-on-three tournament to be held this summer and a post-secondary national basketball tournament.

The Raptors' home game against the Detroit Pistons tomorrow has been dubbed Canada Basketball Night.

BRIEFLY

NBA Hall of Famer Dave Cowens, who played with the Celtics and Bucks, will be the guest of honour at the Metro-Central YMCA New Balance Adult Basketball League all-star game Thursday afternoon.


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