Alston rips former coach Mitchell before Friday's game

Updated: January 6, 2006, 9:00 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- Houston guard Rafer Alston was critical of Raptors coach Sam Mitchell before his first game back in Toronto, saying he didn't prepare his players for games.

Point Guard
Houston Rockets

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Alston was traded to the Rockets during training camp. He repeatedly clashed with Mitchell last year and arrived about an hour and 15 minutes before the game Friday.

"I loved to be prepared," Alston said. "I love to go in there and understand what we are doing defensively, offensively. I like to know what the other teams have been doing the last five or six games. Going into games I didn't know."

Alston said there was no comparison between Mitchell and his current coach, Jeff Van Gundy.

"I enjoy playing for Jeff," he said.

When asked what Mitchell didn't do, Alston said: "I don't have an example of it. Like I say, preparation is everything, life, sports. No matter what you do, you got to prepare."

Alston was involved in several scrapes last season. He threatened to quit the team and the NBA after a Dec. 3 game in Boston and was suspended by the Raptors for two games for conduct detrimental to the club after he walked out during practice.

Mitchell said Friday he's not going to dignify Alston's comments.

"We wish Rafer well," he said. "I don't feel like I was slapped in the face."

The Raptors signed Alston to a six-year contract worth between $27 million and $30 million before last season, but sent him to Houston in a trade for Mike James in October.

James entered Friday's game averaging 15.9 points and 4.6 assist, while Alston was averaging 9.2 points and 4.6 assists.

Alston was a second-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1998 out of Fresno State.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press