Sam is one happy coach

MIKE GANTER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

A day after his general manager gave him his most public commendation since joining the Raptors, head coach Sam Mitchell was basking in the glow of the praise.

Well, basking may be a bit of an exaggeration but his happy metre definitely was reaching new levels.

In conversations with various media representatives on Wednesday, Colangelo praised the work Mitchell and his coaching staff have done this year and went so far as to say he would be surprised if Mitchell didn't wind up as coach of the year, an award he is considered a very strong candidate to win.

That has led to discussion that Colangelo eventually will offer a long-term deal to Mitchell.

Colangelo maintains that is something he will address with Mitchell at the end of the season, which has been the plan all along.

Mitchell, who claims he doesn't read the daily newspapers, clearly was pleased with the kudos.

"I appreciate that," he said. "It's very nice. It means a lot. It's always nice when your boss thinks highly of you and thinks you're doing a good job."

But Mitchell clammed up when he was asked about a looming contract extension.

"There's a time and place for everything and this is not the time and it's definitely not the place," Mitchell said.

"My worries and concerns are about how we're playing and trying to win basketball games.

"Even when I'm talking off the record with you guys (media) did you ever get the feeling I was concerned about my contract? No. I played most of my career on the end of my contract. What's the difference? I still had a contract."

While admitting he has made some adjustments to his coaching approach this season, Mitchell said it has not been drastic.

"If you get a little better each year for five years in a row, then at the end of those five years you are a lot better," Mitchell said. "The tough thing about these jobs is sometimes you don't get the opportunity to learn. So I'm blessed from the standpoint that all the things I've been through, I'm still here and was able to kind of learn from my mistakes and get better."

Mitchell said the main change is with how he handles his players.

"You learn how to better communicate with them, when to back off, when to push. You learn when to give them a day off and what to say to them."


Videos

Photos