The Huskies’ most valuable player went higher than everyone anticipated when Toronto skipped more well known players to take the Portland native.
Terrence Ross didn’t have to wait long for his shot at The Show.
In a large surprise, Washington’s All-Pac-12 Conference guard from Portland went eighth in the first round of the NBA draft Thursday to the Toronto Raptors, higher than most draft speculators imagined.
Ross’s stock rose in the NIT, when he averaged 25 points a game, which perhaps did not escape the notice of Raptors Dwane Casey, in his second year as head coach and a former Sonics assistant in the George Karl years who knows his way around Seattle.
The Raptors, who have won only 11 playoff games since entering the NBA in 1995 with the Vancouver Grizzlies, were 23-43 and fourth in the five-team Atlantic Division and were desperate for a shooting guard. Toronto passed on Austin Rivers of Duke, who went 10th to New Orleans, and Jeremy Lamb of Connecticut, who went 12th to Houston, and likely will be criticized for a reach.
If Ross continues on the arc of improvement he showed at Washington, he could supplant starter James Johnson, and move DeMar DeRozan to small forward. Toronto is also ready to make a a big push for free agent Steve Nash, the longtime all-star guard with Phoenix and a Canadian national hoops hero.