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Sports Caring for mom key as Montreal’s Chris Boucher cashes in with Raptors

04:00  26 november  2020
04:00  26 november  2020 Source:   montrealgazette.com

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Montreal Canadiens. - More Raptors - Anunoby, OG Boucher , Chris Brissett, Oshae Davis, Terence Gasol, Marc Hernandez, Dewan Hollis-Jefferson, Rondae Ibaka, Serge Estimated Career Earnings. A look at the calculated cash earnings for Chris Boucher , including any upcoming years.

Montreal ' s Chris Boucher has secured one of the Toronto Raptors ' two-way contracts. The 25-year-old forward from Montreal had nine points, two Chris Boucher , seen during a Raptors practice in Burnaby, B.C., in September, also had a two-way contract last year when he was with Golden State.

a person holding a basketball: Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher throws down a dunk against the Dallas Mavericks during first half action in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2019. © Provided by The Gazette Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher throws down a dunk against the Dallas Mavericks during first half action in Toronto on Dec. 22, 2019.

At age 16, Chris Boucher dropped out of school and was working as a part-time cook and dishwasher at a St-Hubert BBQ outlet, earning less than $10 per hour, to help his impoverished family living in St-Michel.

A decade later, and after signing a two-year, US$13.5-million contract with the Toronto Raptors, Boucher could probably buy one of the chicken and ribs establishments.

That thought brought a smile to his face Wednesday during a video conference, although the second year of the deal reportedly isn’t guaranteed. Otherwise, Boucher remained largely stoic throughout the 30-minute conference while insisting money won’t change him.

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“It’s definitely going to help me with my family,” Boucher said from the team’s practice facility, while adding he’d like to see his mother, Mary MacVane, stop working. “She has done a lot for me. It’s my turn to take care of her. I’ll decide the rest in due course.”

Boucher admitted none of this appeared possible not so long ago. “But when I talk to my (family), you realize you’ve come a long way. Today, I feel good and look to the future.”

Indeed, Boucher’s story would make a good screenplay.

Born on the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia, he moved to Montreal at age 5 with his mother and reunited with his Canadian father, Jean-Guy Boucher. But his parents split when he was young and his relationship with his father became strained.

Boucher only played pickup basketball before being offered a spot at Alma Academy, a prep school near Saguenay. He spent one season at New Mexico Junior College before transferring to Wyoming’s Northwest College and, eventually, the University of Oregon.

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Chris Boucher believes the Raptors can improve their game by focusing on boxing out and trapping techniques.

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But a torn anterior cruciate ligament meant he was overlooked in the NBA draft, instead signing a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. He signed with the Raptors as a free agent in 2018. Playing for their developmental squad in the G-League, he was named defensive player and most valuable player in 2019, completing the season in the NBA.

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His career in Toronto has been largely pedestrian. In 62 games last season, he averaged 6.6 points along with 4.5 rebounds while playing 13 minutes. But the Raptors were stacked, finishing second in the Eastern Conference (53-19), before losing a seven-game semifinal to Boston.

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Boucher was almost an afterthought in head coach Nick Nurse’s playoff strategy, however, averaging only six minutes and 1.1 points per game. Boucher dressed for seven of 11 contests.

Following the free-agent losses of Marc Gasol to the Los Angeles Lakers and Serge Ibaka to the L.A. Clippers, Boucher, a 6-foot-9 power forward, should have a more defined role with increased court time.

“I think I know what they expect,” said the 27-year-old. “I come in with a different mindset. I might be one of the main guys. I might be one of the vets that knows the system more.

“My role will definitely grow. And more expectations will come with that. I’ve never backed away from a challenge, ever seen something I can’t do. I’ll just adjust. I’m ready to help this team get somewhere and make some noise in the league.”

Athletic and lanky, Boucher added about 15 pounds to his 200-pound frame when NBA play resumed last summer. He plays hard, adds energy to the team when he’s inserted, isn’t shy to attempt three-point shots, is strong defensively and blocks shots.

Boucher is tall enough to play centre and figures to spend time there with the newly signed Aron Baynes and Alex Len. And Boucher also should see some minutes at forward behind Pascal Siakim and OG Anunoby. Boucher spent the summer in Toronto, working out diligently and watching video. He understands he needs to push his game to another level.

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“I’m in a good position,” Boucher said. “I’m going to have a lot of responsibilities, and that doesn’t scare me. I’ve always played to win, to be one of the best players out there — if not the best.

“If you know Nick Nurse, the best way in his system is to be (versatile), be able to guard different positions. Focus on being versatile and knowing all the defensive schemes … being able to switch (roles). If I can do that, I’ll definitely be in a good position to help this team.”

With Siakam, Anunoby, along with the returning Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet , who just signed a four-year, US$85-million contract, the Raptors should remain competitive in a tough conference.

“We have a good system,” Boucher said. “It doesn’t matter which players are there. We’ll have to adjust, but that’s possible. All the pieces are in place.”

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