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Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston ready for his homecoming with Nets

Marcus Henry | 4/12/2011, 4:40 p.m.

With Nets training camp underway, several questions remain unanswered. Who will pick up the scoring in Vince Carter's absence? Will Yi Jianlian emerge to replace Richard Jefferson at small forward? The one situation has already been addressed: backup point guard. New York City playground legend Rafer "Skip to my Lou" Alston was acquired from Orlando in the Carter trade to help bolster the Nets backcourt.Alston, an 11-year veteran who has been around the league with six teams, was excited to be playing in his backyard. Last season the former Cardozo high school standout helped lead the Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals. "It's like a dream come true," Alston said. "To play near your hometown in front of your family and friends and people who have watched your journey through basketball."Aside from his success with the Magic and a solid three-year stretch with Houston, Alston is most known for his flashy handle. Few guards in recent New York City history handle or have handled the ball as well as Alston. He's known all over the city and the NBA for his ability to get by anyone defending him. "I thank God every day and night. I'm 33 and I still feel like I'm 25, 26," Alston said after a practice session at the Nets training facility. "It's a blessing, because when you get up there in age, things start to slow down. But the handle will probably be with me until I'm 40-something."Alston's success serves as inspiration to thousands of city ball players hoping to make the NBA. "I talked to some of the young kids to give them a little inspiration. They root for me and they know I'll root for them," said Alston, who spent part of his summer coaching AAU basketball. "I'm living proof they have a shot to make it."