Have game will travel

DEAN McNULTY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:05 AM ET

Point guard Jose Calderon said yesterday that basketball is basketball no matter where it is played and that he didn't have to change the way he played when he came to the NBA from Europe last season.

The 25-year-old Spanish native said it is a common misconception that it is hard for European players to adjust to the North American game

"I didn't have to change my game. I'm the same player I was in Europe," Calderon said. "I learn things about playing in the NBA but I don't think you have to change your game to come play in the NBA.

"The only difference is that you have to make adjustments to playing with different teammates."

Calderon said that doesn't mean the transition from playing in his native Spain to Toronto and the NBA didn't have all the usual hiccups that accompany any similar move.

"It was just like anybody who was starting a new job," he said. "When I came to Toronto I didn't know anything about the NBA. I watched the games (on television) but it's not the same as being here and experiencing the atmosphere, the players, the locker room, everything."

RAPS HAVE NEW TOOLS

Coach Sam Mitchell said that the improvement in this season's version of the Raptors can be traced back to having better tools.

"The players can thank Bryan (Colangelo) for giving them new stuff this season," he said.

When Colangelo took over as the team's general manager Mitchell said he urged him to open the budget to buy the video equipment necessary to do pre-game scouting of other teams.

"We talked Bryan into spending some money," he said. "Now we can not only scout other teams but our own players as well. We can pull up shots of where on the court every opposing player likes to shoot from. We lay this information out and we all of a sudden are able to defend better."

AROUND THE RIM

It is not always easy to get professional athletes to give up their few and far between moments of free time during the season but yesterday there was no coaxing needed to get a full Raptors roster together for the team's annual visit to the Hospital for Sick Children.

"Kids are special," Chris Bosh said. "Any time you get an opportunity to bring something positive into their lives you do it."


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