There’s generally a stigma around the NBA against seniors coming out of college. It’s tougher to dream about a 22-year-old prospect who is more physically mature and developed than a 19-year-old freshman with seemingly boundless upside.
It’s why prospects like Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell, and Terence Davis II fall in the NBA draft or go completely undrafted. But the Toronto Raptors aren’t afraid to go after these supposedly low-ceiling guys. Instead, while much of the league sees the flaws in older prospects, the Raptors have zagged, taking advantage of these prospects’ experience and finding gold.
That’s what makes Texas Christian University’s Desmond Bane an interesting prospect for the Raptors who have already interviewed the 22-year-old senior.
“Toronto was a really, really good interview,” Bane said during his pre-draft media availability Wednesday. “I love their style of play. Nick Nurse is one of the great minds in basketball, being able to throw difference defences on the fly, the Raptors are one of those teams that are never going to stop fighting and I feel like that fits my DNA.”
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Bane projects as a 3-and-D role player in the NBA. He shot 44.2% from 3-point range during his senior season, averaging nearly three made 3s a game, and was stout defensively, surrendering just two points on 14 isolation possessions during his senior season, according to Synergy.
“The feedback that I’ve gotten from a lot of NBA teams, they feel like I can shoot the ball, I defend, I play hard, I’m a smart player on both ends of the floor,” Bane said. “I’m one of those guys that’s a plug and play guy, you throw me out there and tell me what to do and I’m gunna figure out a way to get it done efficiently.”
Bane’s story mirrors that of so many current Raptors players. He’s always battled questions about his athleticism and size that have seemingly capped his upside. It’s why, he says, he works so hard, feeling the need to grind harder than anyone else to overcome his physical traits.
“That’s why my attention to detail has to be so great,” Bane said. “My motor has to be above and beyond everyone else’s and those are things that I’ve trained myself to do and it shows.”
He averaged a team-high 16.6 points with 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists a game last season for TCU.
Considering his age and size, Bane will likely still be available around the Raptors pick. If that’s the case, he fits Toronto’s mold perfectly.
“I feel like I can go there and have similar success, like Terence Davis,” Bane said of Toronto. “[Davis] is a bigger, athletic, strong guard who defends well, plays hard, I feel like I can bring some of those characteristics to the table.”