Chris Boucher is one of the most unique basketball players you will encounter. He has crazy long arms and spindle feet, rich energy and a stepping step that treads a meter of hardwood when in a full gallop. He is not Giannis Antetokunpo, nor is Pascal Siaqam, but you look closely and you can see at least one small resemblance.
He is also one of the unique men you will meet, a 25-year-old basketball neophyte who not only plays in the game, but also in his personality.
He only played sports for about seven years and had to learn how to be professional almost from scratch, but the background uncertain of the frightful feeling of the right to too much teenage looks felt, allowed him to flourish.
"It's all fresh, it's all new, it's all exciting, and that's the only situation, and that's where it is," said Jama Makalella, coach of the Champions League Raptors 905, and the man accused of doing so Bauch is everything that can be like an athlete and a person.
"If he has played for the last 15 years, I do not think we will have the same player. There is only something about the Renaissance and the fervor for a game that is not made up of coaches."
Boucher's story is wonderful. Born in Saint Lucia and raised in Montreal, he was a restless young man with little sense of purpose or direction – floating around, doing nothing of nothing.
He found basketball and found basketball, and has since been priceless. Boucher, who was six feet and generously counted at 200 pounds, was a younger college player of the year 2016 in Northwest College of Wyoming before spending two seasons in Oregon. He dropped ACL into his left knee at the end of his senior season, went without preparation, and last season passed a two-way division of the deal between the soldiers of Santa Cruz in the G League and the Golden State Warriors.
"When you learn how to play later … when you are older in your head, it's easier to learn," Boucher said. "They tell you things and you can catch it. You're older. Your mind is there.
"There are many things that have been talking to me about this year. I had a lot better in a year."
Adds Mahlalela: "(He is) growing incredibly out of court faster than on. His ability to understand what a team player means now is: how to connect every day when we are traveling, when we are in the shooting, when we are in practice. what he brings to our team is very steady growth, and faster than I thought. "
Raptors added him to the summer leagues six months ago, patiently waited to understand the nuances of the game and professionalism.
"In the summer league … there was no sense of leadership that he brought to the group," said Mahlalela. "Now with this team he takes ownership of this group and kind of saying," This is my team, and for this to be my team now I have a responsibility. I have to act accordingly. I have to do some things that otherwise I will never think of it. ""
Boucher's growth outside the game reflects his growth and domination on the pitch. On average, he earned nearly 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Reptors 905, who on Sunday beat Grand Rapids Drive 106-91 at the Paramount penalty center.
Boucher had 29 points and 19 rebounds, making it an impressive result after a slow start. He has four matches of 30 or more points this season, including a 37-point gem, which is the best regular season in the 905 franchise history.
He leads the G-League with blocked shots of 4.1 per game, because his raw ability shines. The complexities of the game still have to be overcome – pick up and pull coverage, not leaving your man unnecessarily trying to block every stroke on the edge – but they come.
"While continuing to play well and to achieve an exceptional rate, but also to block high-end shots, I said this (Busher is a NBA player) can be a reality," said the coach. "He is a very talented basketball player and offers things that other teams can not defend. His ability to return and push, and to be a point center, is tremendous and very difficult to keep, (c) G-league or NBA. For me, it's a skill that is unsustainable at any level. "
Doug Smith is a sports reporter based in Toronto. Follow it on Twitter: @smithraps