Raptors rookie Jorge Garbajosa has been elected "Mister Europa 2006" by a panel of journalists at Italian weekly magazine Superbasket, a day after he was named the NBA Eastern Conference rookie of the month for December.
The 29-year-old Spanish power forward, a candidate for rookie of the year in his first NBA season with the Raptors, won the 31st edition of the award, beating out Dirk Nowitzki (German forward, Dallas Mavericks, winner in 2005), Pau Gasol (Spanish centre, Memphis Grizzlies), Tony Parker (France point guard, San Antonio Spurs) and Greek point guard and Euroleague Final Four MVP Theo Papaloukas (CSKA Moscow).
During the 2005-06 season, Garbajosa won the Spanish title with Unicaja Malaga, was selected as MVP of the Finals; was a member of the the gold medal team at world championships in Japan, with a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in the Final against Greece. The presentation will take place at the NBA All-Star Game weekend in February.
LETTING HIM GO
Coach Sam Mitchell was not worried about Chris Bosh overextending himself last night after missing the previous 12 games with a sore left knee.
The coach said it is up to the player to get back into the feel of the game and not the job of the coach to advise a returning player how much to push himself.
"I don't want to plant any doubt in his mind, because if you do that, nothing good is going to happen," Mitchell said. "Chris has to just go out and play and he has to know within himself what he can and cannot do. He has had a few practices, has been working out, so he has to answer for himself. How far he can go, how long he can go and exactly what moves he can make, that's the kind of things you have to figure out for (yourself)."
AROUND THE RIM
Stephen Graham, the twin brother of Raptors forward Joey Graham, was cut by the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday, eight days before all contracts become guaranteed ... If Raptors general manager Bryan Colangelo is interested in hiring Phoenix Suns assistant Marc Iavaroni as his next full-time coach, he has some competition. A rumour is circulating Iavaroni could be the next head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies.