TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors chosen Arizona middle Christian Koloko with the thirty third general choose within the NBA draft on Thursday night time.
“Good shot blocker, actually good defensive numbers,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse mentioned of Koloko. “Ranks actually extremely in all of faculty basketball final 12 months in plenty of classes. Fairly first rate choose and roll participant, and he’s acquired good toes.”
The 7-foot-1 Koloko performed three seasons with the Wildcats, averaging profession bests of 12.6 factors and seven.3 rebounds per recreation in 37 video games as a junior.
“I did speak to him and he’s tremendous, tremendous excited to be right here,” Nurse mentioned. “Like, actually, actually completely happy that we chosen him.”
Koloko, 22, is from Douala, Cameroon, the identical delivery metropolis as Raptors All-Star ahead Pascal Siakam.
“I’m positive it’ll be attention-grabbing to see these guys collectively,” Nurse mentioned.
Raptors president Masai Ujiri and ahead Treasured Achiuwa are from neighboring Nigeria.
The 2019 champions, Toronto, returned to the playoffs this season after a one-year absence, however fell behind 3-0 within the first spherical earlier than shedding a six-game collection to Philadelphia.
Regardless of being loaded with lengthy, athletic gamers, the Raptors didn’t have anybody on their roster taller than 6-foot-9, which made the already tough job of defending 76ers middle Joel Embiid a good more durable problem come playoff time.
“He actually type of slots in, probably, right into a place of want, and roster steadiness, too,” Nurse mentioned of Koloko. “Fairly thrilling choose, I feel, for that one tonight.”
Koloko was the 2021-22 Pac-12 Defensive Participant of the Yr, Most Improved Participant, and an all-conference first-team choice. He led the convention and ranked 14th within the NCAA with 2.76 blocks per recreation, and tied an Arizona single-season report with 102 blocks.
Koloko was additionally one in all 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Participant of the Yr Award.
Toronto’s choose, which initially belonged to Detroit, was acquired from San Antonio together with ahead Thaddeus Younger in trade for guard Goran Dragic and Toronto’s first-round choose, twentieth general.
Final 12 months, the Raptors picked Florida State ahead Scottie Barnes with the fourth general choose. Barnes went on to be named NBA Rookie of the Yr, becoming a member of Vince Carter and Damon Stoudamire as Toronto gamers to win high rookie honors.
The Raptors drafted thirty third for the primary time in crew historical past.
© 2022 The Canadian Press