« Koloko no Basket » is more popular than ever in Toronto
With the successive absences of Fred VanVleet, Scottie Barnes and now Pascal Siakam, the Raptors surprisingly trusted a rookie to join their starting five: Christian Kolokopreferred for example to Precious Achiuwa, Chris Boucher or Khem Birch.
Holder five times since the start of the season, the 33rd choice of the last Draft is running at 3.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 against on average after ten games. Above all, the Cameroonian has just signed the best performance of his young career: 11 points, 7 rebounds and 6 blocks in 31 minutes, against the Bulls, last night!
Initially called upon to spend most of his time in the G-League, Christian Koloko quickly established himself as a key player in the rotation of Nick Nurse. It must be said that at position 5, his defensive qualities, in particular as a circle protector, coupled with his mobility, his size (2m16), his profile as a true pivot or his mastery of the pick and rollstick to the style of play practiced by Toronto.
A boon for the Raptors coach, above all defensively seduced by his young 22-year-old player.
» He’s starting to find his feelings defensively. We wanted him to achieve more [des contres, ndlr] “, reacted Nick Nurse, after this match against Chicago where Christian Koloko martyred Patrick Williams, Nikola Vucevic or even Alex Caruso in the second curtain.
The other Cameroonian of the Raptors
In the thick of it, the surprising Christian Koloko is slowly (but surely) finding his bearings in his new team, already identifying one of the aspects in which he must improve in the future.
» Physicality is the biggest difference between college and the NBA “, he noted in this regard, for L’Express Toronto. » I continue to progress at this level, I know that I have to be more physical and more aggressive with the ball, [que je dois] attacking the basket with the intention of finishing. When I do that, the referees will call the fouls in my favor. [Mes coéquipiers] believe in me, so I’m going to keep going out there playing hard. »
Play hard, certainly, but not too much either, since Christian Koloko has sometimes tended to be hampered by foul problems since the recovery. Anything but abnormal for a rookie, but the former resident of Arizona believes he is already beginning to understand a little better how NBA referees work.
» I use my hands a lot on defense, but I’m still trying to figure out how referees whistle in the NBA “, he judged thus. » I am improving and I know that when I will succeed in [limiter les fautes] and understanding how referees work will really help me progress. »