Christian Koloko came to Arizona about as raw as you can be. Three years later, he’s an NBA draft pick.
The 7-foot center has been picked by the Toronto Raptors in the second round of the 2022 NBA Draft, getting taken 33rd overall. He gives the Wildcats three drafted players for the second time in three years and the fourth time in school history.
He is the second ex-UA player drafted by the Raptors, the other being Damon Stoudamire at No. 7 overall in 1995.
Koloko was the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2021-22, as well as the league’s Most Improved Player. He averaged 12.6 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 1.4 assists while shooting 63.5 percent from the field. His 102 blocked shots tied the single-season school record set by Loren Woods in 2000-01 and his 162 career blocks are fifth-most in school history.
A native of Cameron, Koloko is the fifth foreign-born UA player to be drafted. The fourth was teammate Bennedict Mathurin, who went sixth overall to the Indiana Pacers earlier Thursday.
Koloko joins a Toronto team that went 48-34 last season but lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Raptors return Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes among other key players.