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Raptors draft Christian Koloko 33rd overall

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

The Raptors took Koloko thirty third general 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 sport for the College of Arizona final season.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse stated 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 faculty basketball final yr in a number of classes,” stated Nurse, who added that Koloko might be an possibility offensively as nicely. “Fairly first rate pick-and-roll participant and he’s obtained good ft.

“I feel he’s a giant rim-protecting shot blocker however I feel he’s not with out the power to do some switching and transfer his ft on the perimeter as nicely.”

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

“I did discuss to him and he’s tremendous, tremendous excited to be right here,” stated Nurse. “Like actually, actually completely satisfied 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 had been despatched to Toronto in change 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 shifting it to Golden State.

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Toronto basic supervisor Bobby Webster stated that the Raptors had no affords to maneuver up within the draft, however that he felt they chose one of the best out there participant.

“He was in our high 20 or high 25, no matter our record was, (and) we had been comfy (when) at 33 he was there,” stated Webster.

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

“He received’t should wander round practically as a lot ,” stated Nurse on the OVO Centre, the Raptors’ coaching facility. “I do know that sounds type of foolish, however simply discovering your manner round and moving into locations and realizing ‘Hey, there’s the power 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 had been on the OVO Centre on Thursday figuring out along with Nurse and different Toronto coaches watching.

Nurse stated it’s essential for the Raptors to maintain working by the low season and proceed to foster staff chemistry.

“It was thrilling to observe them go at it somewhat bit,” he stated. “I feel that on either side of the ball it may solely assist them, taking part in towards one another.

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

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

Barnes was chosen fourth general 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 sport, turning into the third participant in Raptors historical past to win NBA Rookie of the Yr.

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

“Traditionally, a second-round choose is a unique journey,” stated Webster. “While you are available like Scottie, you are available as a first-round choose, there’s a bit extra expectation and perhaps duty that you simply maintain.

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

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

© 2022 The Canadian Press