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Raptors draft Arizona C Christian Koloko with 33rd pick

TORONTO (AP) — The Toronto Raptors chosen Arizona middle Christian Koloko with the thirty third total decide 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 school basketball final yr in loads of classes. Fairly first rate decide and roll participant, and he’s acquired good ft.”

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 stated. “Like, actually, actually blissful 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 certain it’ll be attention-grabbing 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 dropping a six-game sequence 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 process of defending 76ers middle Joel Embiid a good harder problem come playoff time.

“He definitely sort of slots in, presumably, right into a place of want, and roster steadiness, too,” Nurse stated of Koloko. “Fairly thrilling decide, I feel, 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 file with 102 blocks.

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

Toronto’s decide, 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 decide, twentieth total.

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Final yr, the Raptors picked Florida State ahead Scottie Barnes with the fourth total decide. 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 workforce historical past.

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Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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