Raptors draft Arizona C Christian Koloko with 33rd pick

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors chosen Arizona middle Christian Koloko with the thirty third general choose within the NBA draft on Thursday evening.

“Good shot blocker, actually good defensive numbers,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse stated of Koloko. “Ranks actually extremely in all of faculty basketball final 12 months in loads of classes. Fairly first rate choose and roll participant, and he’s received 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 discuss to him and he’s tremendous, tremendous excited to be right here,” Nurse stated. “Like, actually, actually pleased that we chosen him.”

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Koloko, 22, is from Douala, Cameroon, the identical start metropolis as Raptors All-Star ahead Pascal Siakam.

“I’m positive it’ll be fascinating to see these guys collectively,” Nurse stated.

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 troublesome job of defending 76ers middle Joel Embiid a good more durable problem come playoff time.

“He definitely form of slots in, presumably, right into a place of want, and roster stability, too,” Nurse stated of Koloko. “Fairly thrilling choose, I believe, for that one tonight.”

Koloko was the 2021-22 Pac-12 Defensive Participant of the 12 months, 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 document with 102 blocks.

Koloko was additionally one among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Defensive Participant of the 12 months 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.

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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 12 months, becoming a member of Vince Carter and Damon Stoudamire as Toronto gamers to win prime rookie honors.

The Raptors drafted thirty third for the primary time in crew historical past.


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