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Chris Boucher; Montreal’s Basketball pride

by Pete M.D.
Published: Last Updated on 833 views

Montreal Chris Boucher had a great game last night. The Bucks and Raptors have already secured the first and second playoff spots in the East with a few games left. Most of the stars sat out Monday, August 10th, from Giannis Antetokounmpo to Kyle Lowry, Fred VanVleet, and Serge Ibaka.

Boucher provided a career-best 25 points and 11 rebounds while providing some of the biggest highlights of the game. Sharp-shooting first-year guard Matt Thomas added 22 points, and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 11. Norman Powell scored 21 points in his 24th start of the season.

But It wasn’t that long ago that Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher who plays a lot similar to Kevin Durant this year replacing Kawhi Leonard.

He can and I predict will be the key factors in the Raptors run to repeat as NBA champions. was simply a dishwasher who would shoot hoops at a YMCA gym in Montreal.

Toronto’s 6-foot-9, third-string center really came into his own this past season, finding a role for himself as a high-energy big off the bench for Nick Nurse’s squad. He saw his minutes skyrocket from just 163 minutes last season to 724 this year, as he played in 55 of the Raptors’ 64 games.

Boucher grew up in Montreal, where coach Loic Rwigema would eventually spot him playing pickup basketball at the gym.

Few could predict that moment would turn out to be the first step in Boucher’s run to the NBA, where he was one of 13 Canadians who played in the league this season.

Now that his team is facing Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, he’s inspiring a group of young basketball players in his Quebec hometown.

Some of these aspiring kids under 14 years old from high school Durocher College are competing in a Jr. NBA international tournament and feel connected to the power forward who unwittingly left a mark on them.

Basketball is life for them. They hope to follow in the Raptors’ footsteps next year and win a chance to represent Canada.

One player told CTV News, “I think it is great for diversity of sports here, because in Quebec it is a lot about hockey and we are trying to put basketball on the map.”

Boucher himself acknowledged his responsibility to give back to the community that helped hone his skills.

“Everybody wants to be a role model and if I can get some kids to pick up their shoes and wanting to do something, that is good for me,” he told CTV News.

And Rwigema is proud that his former player has nearly reached the pinnacle which all players aspire to: an NBA championship.

“I think the kid is living his dream and he’s went a long way from being a dishwasher to being a pro player for his country’s only basketball team,” he said.

And he’s thrilled that despite Boucher’s uncommon talent, he’s also proof the pro league isn’t completely out of reach for children.

“It is good to set yourself some big dreams because if you shoot for the stars, you might end up on the moon — and that is not a bad thing,” he said.

The shiny Larry O’Brien trophy stood beside Chris Boucher, who brought the top NBA prize back to his childhood stomping grounds Friday. The 6-10 athlete towered over the microphone and the dozens of children cheering for him.

“Everything started in Montreal North,” Boucher said.”I was that little kid in Montreal North that nobody knew.” 

The Toronto Raptors forward greeted fans of all ages at Le Carignan Park in Montreal’s east end. It was at the basketball court in this park that Boucher first discovered his love of the sport. 

“I finally came back as a champion,” Boucher said. 

Boucher said he hopes the children present are inspired by his experience. 

“I wanted the kids to see something special,” Boucher said, “and realize that I’m not the only champion here. They’re all champions, and we’re all champions together right now.” by CBS

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