Mitchell tells players just say no to drugs

STEVE BUFFERY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:25 AM ET

The topic of performance-enhancing drugs came up after Raptors practice yesterday and head coach Sam Mitchell said that he often tells his players that using drugs is the wrong thing to do.

"I look at it like this, there's a reason why they've banned it," he said. "Because they really think it's going to hurt you."

Mitchell stresses to his players that, when it comes to performance-enhancing drugs, they have to look beyond their basketball careers and understand that the use of steroids or growth hormones will ultimately result in a shorter and unhealthier life.

"I tell our guys all the time, you're going to be who you are a lot longer than you're a professional basketball player," Mitchell said, adding that he can understand why young athletes my want to experiment with drugs.

"Because when you're 21 years old, you don't think about when you're 45 and you can't breath, and can't walk," he said. "But when you're 21 somebody has to have the courage to think a little bit for you."

HARD WORKERS

A Toronto TV guy asked Mitchell yesterday following practice if his team was looser because of a great start to the pre-season.

"I don't understand your question,"Mitchell snapped. "Looser? We practice hard every day. We don't come in here, sit down on lawn chairs (under) umbrellas and have mai tais. We work hard everyday.

"We're still in training camp mode," he added. "When you guys (reporters) come in and they're smiling, it's because they're happy (practice) is over with."

LONG ODDS FOR RAPS

PinnacleSports.com, the largest sports betting site on the internet, has listed the Raptors as a 109-1 shot to win the 2007 NBA championship. The Dallas Mavericks are the favourites at 4-1, followed by the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs at 11-2, while the Charlotte Bobcats and Portland Trailblazers are the biggest long shots at 500-1.


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