If you’re an American NBA fan who doesn’t see too much coverage of the Raptors, we can forgive you if you aren’t familiar with Chris Boucher yet. You will be soon.
4. He Was Homeless at Sixteen and Has Overcome Lots of Adversity
The path to the NBA hasn’t been an easy one for Chris Boucher.
He grew up in a tough neighborhood and described it in an interview with Vice: “Where I’m from there’s a lot of drugs, a lot of crimes, a lot of gangs.”
Instead of getting into trouble, Boucher used to break his 9pm curfew to spend all night at the gym, practicing. When issues at home involving a boyfriend of his mom’s reached a boiling point, she suggested that he should leave. At the age of 16, he started staying with friends and couch-surfing.
A tough life growing up has shaped him into the young man he is today. The Raptors have a track record of signing high-potential players with work ethic who have overcome huge adversity, it’s part of the team’s DNA.
3. His First Sports Were Hockey and Soccer
Like any good Montreal boy, Boucher played hockey when he was younger. He also has a background in soccer, like the Raptors star PF Pascal Siakam. He had only played pickup basketball before being offered a spot on a tournament team, where he would go on to drop 44 points in the final game of the tourny.
If you want to talk about breakout Raptors players who picked up the game later in life than many of their contemporaries, you’ll find another similarity between Boucher and Siakam.
2. He Already Has a Decorated Career
With just two years in the league, he’s already managed to grab himself two championship rings. Granted, he didn’t put up any meaningful time with the Warriors in their 2017-2017 season, but he played 30 games for the Raptors in 2018-2019 and it’s looking like he’s earned a lot more minutes moving forward.
In his time in the G-League with the Raptors 905 team, Chris Boucher earned a championship in 2017, and picked up the league MVP and DPOY awards to go along with it.
1. He Outscored Both LeBron and Kawhi is Back-to-Back Nights
The Raptors infamous back-to-back road trip against the Lakers then the Clippers is a tall order for any team in the league, not to mention a team missing their star point guard and starter-caliber center. Chris Boucher stepped up big on both ends of the court, putting up more points than LeBron against the Lakers and more points against Kawhi against the Clippers. This was a break-out road trip for Boucher who is raising to the challenge of a recent spree of injuries for his team.
Here are the highlights from Chris Boucher’s breakout game against the Los Angeles Lakers:
Every year it’s like the Raptors are able to find another hidden gem of a player, whether it’s undrafted Fred Van Vleet, 27th pick Pascal Siakam, 23rd pick OG Anunoby, or the very promising looking Terence Davis. When you aren’t yet a destination for free agents (expect that to change sooner or later as word gets out about the Raptors incredible development program for young players), you have to make your own stars and The Raptors have been doing just that.
Chris Boucher is not as young as some of the other young guns to emerge for the Raptors, but not everybody walks the same path or has faced the same challenges in life and now that he’s got his moment to shine, he’s seizing the opportunity. The Raptors have done an amazing job of believing in and developing Boucher, and he’s accepting the challenge and rising to the occasion.