An injured St. Lucian-born basketball player reportedly agreed to a two-way NBA contract with the Golden State Warriors, league sources were quoted as saying. The contract allows a player to be on both the active roster and in the G League, getting paid for whichever roster they are active on.
The University of Oregon’s Chris Boucher went into the draft despite a torn ACL. The six-foot-one forward with the pterodactyl seven-foot-four wing span earned Pac-12 all-defensive team honors this past season, leading the conference in blocked shots (2.6 per game).
He also averaged 12.0 points and 6.8 rebounds in his two-year career with the Ducks. A lot of folks had been rooting for Boucher who has overcome a lot of odds in his young life to get as far as he has.
Boucher moved to Montreal when he was five months old with his mother, Mary MacVane, to join his father, Jean-Guy Boucher. The couple had two other children together — a son and a daughter — but divorced when Boucher was 9.
At age 16, he dropped out of school, but was later able to earn his high-school diploma. He spent time working minimum-wage jobs as a dishwasher and then a cook at a St-Hubert BBQ restaurant before playing in a Hang Time tournament and wowing coaches there. That landed him a scholarship to Oregon and the rest as they say is history.
Chris Boucher’s story is too good to end with a knee injury. That’s why he’s working so hard at rehabbing the torn ACL in his left knee suffered in the Pac-12 tournament in March. Boucher was a high school dropout in his native Montreal and working in a restaurant when, through a combination of his physical gifts and some good fortune, his path to basketball was laid out for him.
He’d never before played the game in an organized capacity, but when an opportunity to compete against an established AAU program presented itself, he responded with 44 points. All of a sudden, coaches knew his name. That performance led him to a prep school, a pair of junior colleges, and finally, Oregon, where he became a game-changing shot blocker, rebounder and scorer for a team that made a couple of deep runs in the NCAA tournament.
• Nearly 7-foot-4 wingspan
• Great shot blocker
• Explosive athlete
• Good offensive rebounder
• Perimeter threat with range
• Can he overcome knee injury?
• Needs to gain strength and bulk
• Has to improve free-throw shooting
• Older prospect
NBA projection: The knee injury he suffered in the Pac-12 tournament hampered his Draft chances, but the fact Boucher was invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago—where he was medically evaluated and interviewed with teams—is a good sign. NBA teams haven’t been afraid to draft players who have suffered ACL injuries.
Boucher’s season ended in stunning and heartbreaking fashion when he tore the ACL in his left knee in a Pac-12 tournament semifinal game against California. Given his contributions as a scorer and rim protector, it’s reasonable for Oregon fans to wonder if his absence cost the Ducks the national championship. Even without Boucher, they advanced to the Final Four, where they lost to eventual national champion North Carolina by a single point. Boucher was chosen honorable mention All-Pac-12 and to the league’s All-Defensive team after leading the league and finishing 15th in the nation in blocked shots.
Key statistics: 11.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.1 tpg, 2.5 bpg, 23.5 mpg, .524 FG, .350 3PT, .565 FT
Career Highlights: A two-time Pac-12 All-Defensive Team. Only player in Pac-12 history to register at least 100 blocks and 35 three-pointers in a season as a junior. His 110 blocks were a school record. Second all-time on the OU career blocks list (189) and field goal percentage (53.2) is fourth best in school history. The NJCAA DI Player of the Year as a Northwest College sophomore.
Cool statistic: Despite playing less than two full seasons, Boucher leaves Oregon as the program’s No. 2 all-time shot blocker (189).
Reminds me of: Skal Labissiere
What Insiders Say
Oregon coach Dana Altman
“I reminded him his activity increases so much when he’s around the basket getting rebounds. I encouraged him to go to the boards every time. Quit worrying about shooting, quit worrying about everything except going to get the ball. He did a tremendous job [in a 23-point, 19-rebound, five-block effort against Montana].”
What Outsiders Say
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie
“They play him at the four or five, and stepping out, Amida [Brimah, UConn center] is not used to guarding out there like that. Boucher is a difficult match-up, and he knocked them down today [Boucher made 5 of 7 3s and scored 21 points]. (nba.com)