The first ever Canadian drafted by the Toronto Raptors is a 21-year-old from Rexdale
An iconic moment for the Toronto Raptors occurred during this week's NBA draft as Canada's team drafted the first-ever Canadian pick in franchise history.
While a number of Canadian players have represented the Raptors in the past, Rexdale's own Dalano Banton became the first-ever Canadian to join the Raptors via the NBA entry draft when he was selected 46th overall.
Banton joins the team out of Nebraska, where he started as a 6'9 guard for the majority of the 2021 NCAA season.
Missed this place. 🏦 pic.twitter.com/M48bnw5zGc— Nebraska Basketball (@HuskerHoops) November 12, 2020
Before that, he played high school ball for Central Toronto Academy before moving on to high school prep programs in Massachusetts where he was named a four-star recruit.
I Come From Poverty Not Ashamed Its Apart Of Me 💯💯— Dubber Don (@DALANOBANTON) September 10, 2019
He's apparently a workhorse who believes in betting on himself, the kind of character kid that Toronto sports fans have grown to love, from the likes of Doug Gilmour to Jose Bautista.
Dalano Banton is a kid from Rexdale who was drafted by the @Raptors and how former aau coach is now on staff through the Wayne Embry fellowship @winta_d I love seeing this! Full circle. Thank you Raptors for showing the kids in the city it's possible.— Young Smith (@YoungSmithWorld) July 30, 2021
Much like both of those Toronto superstars, Banton is a late draft pick who people say will be determined to prove the doubters wrong.
"He's working really hard on his game daily, shooting the ball really well, and people will be amazed at how far his skill set and shooting comes along throughout the summer and his rookie year," his agent Daniel Poneman told Sportsnet.
"He's a very, very special talent in his ability to play-make and think the game at six-foot-nine. He'll be a very special player in the league for years to come."
He adds more size and defensive ability to a Raptors core team that used their fourth overall pick on another 6'9 guard when they selected Scottie Barnes.
The Raptors' recent identity has been a defense-first team, and that mindset is largely responsible for the team's 2019 championship when they were lead by two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard.
The Raptors will hope that the hometown kid can become a quick fan favourite, and playing for his hometown team will motivate Dalano Banton to become an integral part of the team for many years ..
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