Raptors draft Christian Koloko thirty third total | Globalnews.ca

Raptors draft Christian Koloko 33rd overall  | Globalnews.ca

2022-06-24 08:48:55

TORONTO – The Toronto Raptors consider they’ve stuffed a necessity by drafting Christian Koloko.

The Raptors took Koloko thirty third total on Thursday with Toronto’s solely choose on this yr’s NBA Draft. The seven-foot-one centre averaged 12.6 factors, 7.3 rebounds, and a pair of.8 blocks per recreation for the College of Arizona final season.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse mentioned he was intrigued by what the brand new addition may do for his defensive schemes.

“Good shot blocker, actually good defensive numbers, ranks actually extremely in all of school basketball final yr in plenty of classes,” mentioned Nurse, who added that Koloko may be an choice offensively as nicely. “Fairly first rate pick-and-roll participant and he’s received good toes.

“I feel he’s an enormous rim-protecting shot blocker however I feel he’s not with out the flexibility to do some switching and transfer his toes on the perimeter as nicely.”

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Koloko was the 2021-22 Pac-12 Defensive Participant of the 12 months, Most Improved Participant, and All-Pac-12 First Crew alternative. He led the Pac-12 in blocks per recreation and was ranked 14th in American collegiate play, getting named a Lefty Driesell Defensive all-American and a Lute Olsen all-American.

“I did speak to him and he’s tremendous, tremendous excited to be right here,” mentioned Nurse. “Like actually, actually comfortable that we chosen him.”

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Toronto acquired the thirty third choose on Feb. 10 in a commerce with the San Antonio Spurs. Drew Eubanks, Thaddeus Younger, and a 2022 second-round draft choose initially belonging to the Detroit Pistons have been despatched to Toronto in trade for Goran Dragic and a protected 2022 first-round draft choose.

The Raptors’ unique second-round choose was traded to Philadelphia in a commerce on Feb. 6, 2019, with the 76ers later transferring it to Golden State.

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Toronto common supervisor Bobby Webster mentioned that the Raptors had no affords to maneuver up within the draft, however that he felt they chose the very best obtainable participant.

“He was in our high 20 or high 25, no matter our checklist was, (and) we have been snug (when) at 33 he was there,” mentioned Webster.

Koloko is from Douala, Cameroon, the identical hometown as Raptors star ahead Pascal Siakam. Nurse hopes Siakam’s presence will assist Koloko shortly acclimate to Toronto.

“He received’t must wander round almost as a lot ,” mentioned Nurse on the OVO Centre, the Raptors’ coaching facility. “I do know that sounds sort of foolish, however simply discovering your method round and moving into locations and figuring out ‘Hey, there’s the energy coach and there’s the chef and right here’s the place you park’ and all that stuff helps you get to work.”

Siakam, Scottie Barnes, and OG Anunoby have been on the OVO Centre on Thursday understanding along with Nurse and different Toronto coaches watching.

Nurse mentioned it’s vital for the Raptors to maintain working by means of the low season and proceed to foster crew chemistry.

“It was thrilling to observe them go at it just a little bit,” he mentioned. “I feel that on either side of the ball it may solely assist them, enjoying in opposition to one another.

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“Comparable sized athletes in related sized positions. They’ve received to protect one another and so they’ve received to attempt to rating on one another and issues like that. In order that’s good.”

Visa points are presently stopping Koloko from coming into Canada however Webster mentioned that as quickly because the 22-year-old indicators his deal on July 1, he’ll be capable of get a piece allow.

Barnes was chosen fourth total by the Raptors in final yr’s draft, with Dalano Banton (forty sixth) and David Johnson (forty seventh) going to Toronto within the second spherical. Barnes averaged 15.3 factors, 7.5 rebounds, and three.5 assists per recreation, turning into the third participant in Raptors historical past to win NBA Rookie of the 12 months.

Webster mentioned that as a second-round choose Koloko could have fewer expectations than what Barnes confronted.

“Traditionally, a second-round choose is a special journey,” mentioned Webster. “If you are available in like Scottie, you are available in as a first-round choose, there’s a bit extra expectation and possibly accountability that you simply maintain.

“I feel we’re not wanting to place any bins round these guys. So he is available in and he’ll be on summer season league, and we’ll see what he can do.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed June 23, 2022.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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