What Christian Koloko brings to the Raptors

The 33rd pick in the 2022 NBA Draft outlines what skills he brings to the table and why the Raptors organization believing in him meant so much to his development. Full availability is on our Yahoo Sports Canada YouTube channel.

Video Transcript

- What should Raptors fans expect from you? Can you give us a scouting report on yourself?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: I mean, they should expect me to give everything I have, just give everything I have. The first thing I'm going to give to them is just my defense-- my defense and just being the rim protector, having the defensive presence. Me moving the way I move for somebody my size-- I think it's really rare, and really rare and unique.

And just being able to switch on guards and just the way the Raptors play. They like that big lineup. And I feel like I can play with whichever lineup-- a big lineup, a small lineup. Like I think I can be there-- if you have to switch I can do that. Offensively-- just do whatever the coach want me to do. Whatever he want me to do. If he said in screen catch lob-- having open shots, I take the open shots and knock down 3 sometimes. Just, we need to do whatever it takes to win.

- And a quick one. Have you seen snow before? Do you have a winter jacket?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: I've seen snow probably once in my lifetime. So I'm definitely-- that's going to be my first purchase when I get my first check-- is going to be buying a big jacket.

- Very good. Congrats again.


- We'll go to emit from Yahoo! Sports Canada.

AMIT MANN: Hey, Christian, congratulations again, as everyone else has said. I saw on social yesterday there was a ceremony that your father did with you, the coronation ceremony. I don't want to try and name what it's called because I think I'll butcher it. But can you describe the significance of it and what it meant to you?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Honestly, I didn't even know. I didn't even know what was going on, to be honest. And I just asked my dad after, what was going on, and stuff like that? And he just told me it was just ceremony to-- not to introduce me, but just--

Because where I'm from-- where I'm from-- from my village, my dad is like a chief or something like that. So it was just saying-- I'm becoming like a prince or something like that, and just giving me all his blessings. And just, go do your thing, son, basically.

AMIT MANN: That's awesome and I saw again another clip on social, is when you were talking to him aside just after you were drafted. And you said to him, along with the Raptors' coach and stuff-- thank you for believing in me. Why did you say that to them? Why did you think that was important?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Because-- like I said, man-- I said, thank you for believing in me because, like I said-- they've been on my-- basically since 2017, the Basketball Without Borders Toronto would be-- not recruiting me, but they be scouting me. They be scouting me.

And like I said, I built a really good relationship with Masai. And every time I saw them, they always showed love to me. They always show love to me. And having them pick me in this draft-- that just means everything to me. It means everything. And I'm forever ever going to be thankful to them. I'm just going to go out there and give everything I have for them.

AMIT MANN: Thanks, man. Much appreciated, and congrats again.


- We'll go to Oren from Complex Canada.

OREN WEISFELD: Hey, Christian. Congratulations. Can you talk about some of your goals, maybe, for your rookie season, or even your NBA career, if you have any?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Oh, my goal for my rookie season is just to be the best version of myself, be the best version of myself. And being the best version of myself is [INAUDIBLE] in the rest of the rookie year-- that's good. Being the best version of myself-- being, just, somebody coming off the bench for the Toronto Raptors and giving everything he has, and that's good for me.

Embrace my role and the role that the team's going to give me. And just be a star starting in my role in my rookie year. And my goal in the NBA-- just to be an all-time NBA-- an all-time NBA player. Be a really good player in the NBA. Being multiple time all-star, just having the best career possible because I kind of started playing basketball kind of late. So I think sky's the limit for me, and I'm going to continue to get better.

OREN WEISFELD: That's great. And then also your coach at Arizona, Jack Murphy, was saying how he thinks your passing is a really underrated part of your game. Can you talk about that part of your game, where you think it's at and where you think maybe it can go in the future?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Yeah, definitely. I think passing is-- my passing ability is a really underrated. I think I have a really good basketball IQ. I feel like I'm a really smart player. And when I'm on the court, I feel like I'm able capable to get out of tough situations with my IQ and my passing abilities.

And I think I showed a little bit of it this year. I think I have a couple of games where I have six or seven assists this year, so actually I feel like I showed a little bit of that. And that's something I have been working a lot with my trainer-- just make read of the pick and roll, or the short roll. And for a big man, you got to have that [INAUDIBLE], be able to make those reads and be able to be comfortable with the ball in your hands. And that's why we did a lot of it this year with Arizona-- just the way we play. Us big men-- we had the ball a lot in our hands, and we were able to make reads and [INAUDIBLE].

OREN WEISFELD: All right, thank you, Christian.

- Thanks, Oren. We'll go to Adam from the "Daily Hive."

ADAM LASKARIS: Hey, Christian, I was just wondering, are there any current players in the NBA that you like to model your game after? And sort of who are the players growing up that you were looking up to?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Oh, growing up, the player I was looking up to-- because when I started playing basketball my favorite player was Kevin Durant, and that's why I wear at number 35. It was my favorite player.

But I watch a lot of NBA games. I watch a lot of NBA games, and I try to [INAUDIBLE] different pieces-- different pieces from each player. Defensively, I watch a lot of guys, and I really compare just the way he protects the rim and the impact he has on defense. Draymond Green-- just the way he talk, communicate on defense-- the way he's-- he's the captain of the defense.

And offensively, I watch a lot of guys like Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic. All those guys just-- what they have-- they bring a different piece to the game. And like I said, the sky's the limit for me, and I'm going to continue to get better. So for me, just trying to learn as much as I can from all those guys.

ADAM LASKARIS: Outside of your brief connection with Siakam, have you been in touch with any of the other players on the roster, either in the past or since last night?

CHRISTIAN KOLOKO: Oh, no, I mean, last night was a couple hours ago. So I think it's going to happen eventually-- today or in the future, but--

ADAM LASKARIS: All right. Thanks so much, and congrats again.


- Last call for any--

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