Charlie's OK with Smith

PERRY LEFKO

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

In case you missed it, The Score had an interesting interview yesterday with ESPN basketball columnist Stephen A. Smith, who was allowed the opportunity to clarify his diss of the Raptors draft of Charlie Villanueva.

Smith, who professes to be a top-class journalist because he does a newspaper column for the Philadelphia Inquirer, said he never questioned Villanueva's ability, but rather the Raptors' selection of him when they already had a stud at the forward/centre position in Chris Bosh.

Smith basically said it was a bad pick by Raptors general manager Rob Babcock, who said Villanueva had the ability to play power forward or centre.

Smith said Babcock had "no clue" what he was doing and it was proved correct by Babcock being fired.

Smith said the pick was, in fact, made by Raps coach Sam Mitchell and Wayne Embry, the special adviser to the president, and that he has lots of respect for Villanueva.

"I've still got a lot of love for him," Smith said.

Smith said he has been besieged by e-mails from Raptors fans, whom he trashed vigorously.

"Make sure you know what I said before you bombard me with e-mails," he said.

So, Raptors fans, don't dislike Smith for his comment about Villanueva.

Just dislike him because he dislikes you.

AND THE WINNER IS

The University of Florida's victory over UCLA in the NCAA championship game paid off for Raptors forward Matt Bonner.

A graduate of Florida, Bonner bet teammate Darrick Martin, who attended UCLA, that his alma mater would beat Martin's.

Included in the bet, the loser had to do a pre-game television interview wearing a T-shirt with the logo of the opposing school.

GRIN AND BARRETT

Raps guard Andre Barrett, who had been given two 10-day contracts by the team, signed a deal yesterday that will keep him with the team for the balance of the season and next year, although the latter part of the deal is not guaranteed. In nine games, The 5-foot-10 guard has averaged 4.8 points and 2.9 assists in nine games.


Photos