The NBA Draft is later this moth, and Syracuse has two players that will potentially get drafted. Today, we take a look at Rakeem Christmas, who was one of the top players in the ACC in his senior season. Christmas led the Orange in scoring (17.5 ppg), rebounding (9.1) and blocked shots (2.5) and was named to the All-ACC First Team.
Here is The Juice Online’s scouting report on Christmas:
Strengths: Prototypical NBA power forward body with 6’9″ frame and 7’3″ wingspan… Excellent shot blocker… Good rebounding instincts on both ends of the floor with high motor… Runs the floor like a gazelle… Blossomed in senior season with post game… Can finish with either hand… Knows how to establish position in the post… Plays through contact and can finish… Good footwork around basket… Solid free throw shooter… Has proven he can hit a mid-range jumper.
Weaknesses: Still commits far too many silly fouls… Midrange jumper is improving but still needs work… Tends to hold the ball in the post… Other times, attempts to force the action which leads to fouls or turnovers… Turnover prone when he drops the ball below his waist…Average passer out of a double-team… Can be fooled on pump fakes leading to fouls.
NBA Comparison: DeJuan Blair. Christmas will likely never be a featured player on offense, so he will have to make his living much in the same way that Blair did with San Antonio. Despite being only 6’7″, Blair averaged a career-best 7.0 rebounds in his second season in the league, and Christmas will have the chance to do the same in the right system.
- Birthdate: December 1, 1991
- Hometown: Bryn Athyn, PA
- Position: Forward
- School: Syracuse ’14
- Height, 6’9″
- Weight, 245 lbs
- NBADraft.net: 2nd round, 33rd pick (Boston Celtics)
- Draftexpress.com: 2nd round, 34th pick (Los Angeles Lakers)
College Highlights: Christmas had 12 double-doubles in his senior season, and was voted ACC Most Improved Player, Co-Defensive Player of the Year, First Team and All Defensive Team for his efforts. He was also one of 14 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and one of 15 finalist for the Wooden Award.
Overall: On the right team, Christmas can be an excellent role player and a nice option to have off the bench. His above-average rebounding and shot blocking ability could lead to a long career in the NBA.