Raptors rookie Charlie Villanueva had his best game as a pro this afternoon as he exploded for 48 points and 9 boards against the Bucks.

Villanueva’s big day didn’t end the way he would have liked because the Raptors fell apart in overtime and lost 123-117 to the Bucks and his Huskies lost to the Patriots this afternoon in the NCAA tournament.

When asked following the game about his day Villanueva joked with reporters, “I found out at halftime that U Conn lost and I just played with some extra fire. I was frustrated man, I can’t believe George Mason beat U Conn. I wanted U Conn to go all the way. They have some great kids over there but they fell short.”

When Villanueva stopped joking with the media he confided that his career high 48 points, “feels real good. It feels like you can’t be stopped, like the basket is bigger than it already is. Guys weren’t playing me so I was just taking it. It goes back to my teammates giving the ball in the right place and me hitting big shots.

While watching Villanueva soak in the attention following the game something that grabbed my attention is the way that he still finds motivation by the people that bashed him in Draft Day last summer. Athletes usually tell the media that they aren’t bothered by what’s written and said about them but there are times when they slip up and show how much they have been hurt by comments made about them. Tonight was just that occasion. During his post game press conference Villanueva touched upon the idiotic comments made by Stephen A. Smith on Draft Night when he told reporters that, “I’m hungry. I still go back to Draft Day when people criticized me. I’m happy to be here but I gotta’ get more hungry.”

I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again - what Smith did on draft night showed a complete lack of class. It was the biggest night of Villanueva’s life and he had that night spoiled by a brash, arrogant, idiot who was given a microphone.

It would have been nice for my Raptors to earn a victory this afternoon but I’ll gladly settle for watching Villanueva score 48 points and making Stephen A. Smith eat some crow.


Sun 03/26/06, 4:32 pm EST




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