Ten Facts About The 13th Overall Pick Chris Duarte
Hello everybody and welcome to another video. Today we will be going over 10 facts about Chris Duarte, the newly drafted Indiana Pacer. Make sure you stick around until the end of the video to find out just how good Duarte is on the basketball court and how he could impact the Pacers franchise this season.
Number ten. Chris Duarte has become just the tenth NBA player who was from the Dominican Republic. Basketball has been increasing in popularity all over the world, even in the Dominican Republic, which has been dominated by baseball for quite some time now. According to RealGM, there have only been nine Dominican players to make it into the NBA, with Tito Horford becoming the very first back in 1988. Tito was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks and ended up having a son by the name of Al Horford, ring a bell? Horford was an integral part to the Boston Celtics throughout the prime of his career and he still plays to this day, just like Karl-Anthony Towns, another Dominican player. Duarte now joins a growing list of these players and there should be a couple more charging their way into the league soon enough. Lester Quinones, Joel Soriano and Justin Minaya are three college players bound to take that next step as well. However, none of them have a higher ceiling than Duarte has right now.
Number nine. Duarte was actually supposed to play at Western Kentucky instead of Oregon. Duarte spent a lot of time growing up in New York, when he started to reel in the accolades. Those accolades got him invited to the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic Game, where he played alongside other future stars like Collin Gillespie and Jordan Nwora. That game was a massive steppingstone for him as Western Kentucky offered him a scholarship to play for the school. Duarte accepted shortly after but then came to a different conclusion. He chose to deny the scholarship and attend junior college instead. The majority of times this type of move completely throws off a players future in the NBA yet Duarte made the most out of it and improved from it.
Number eight. The junior college scene was dominated by Duarte. As we just talked about, Duarte opted not to go with Western Kentucky and went to junior college instead. Well, that junior college he picked was Northwest Florida State College. Ayo Dosunmu and Kofi Cockburn were two other players on that team at the same time, which goes to show how dominant they were throughout the year. Unfortunately, the 2020 NCAA Tournament was cancelled so they were never able to prove their dominance. Duarte played two seasons there and did eventually get the team to the Elite Eight in the NJCAA and was awarded with All-Conference honors. This was one of the biggest reasons he got more options the next couple of years. That, and the fact he was awarded with the NJCAA Player of the Year award in 2019 behind his 19 points per game. Duarte took one of those options when he felt the time was right and headed over to Oregon in a transfer.
Number seven. 2021 was a ridiculously good year for Duarte in terms of accolades. Not only did he answer the doubters who said he wouldn’t be able to play at a higher level, but he was awarded handsomely in the process. He picked up multiple Pac-12 Player of the Week awards and was eventually an honorable mention for the All-Pac 12 team. Later on, he won the Jerry West Award and was placed to the All-America Third team as well as winning the Pac-12 Player of the Year award. Duarte proved this season that he belonged in the NBA. One of his biggest games throughout the year was a 30 point, 11 assist and eight steal masterpiece against Eugene. He did shoot just 33 percent from behind the arc in during his time in Junior College but raised that number to 42.4 percent here with Oregon. For a player that opted to go such a nontraditional route, Duarte really showed the world why he deserved to make it into the NBA in that first season with his new team.
Number six. Duarte joins a growing list of Oregon Ducks drafted into the NBA. This was the fifth consecutive NBA Draft that saw a player from the Oregon Ducks being drafted. The streak originally started in 2017 when they had three players taken, Jordan Bell, Tyler Dorsey and Dillon Brooks. Bell won a championship with the Golden State Warriors and Brooks is one of the best young shooting guards in the league. The year before that, Troy Brown Jr. was drafted in the second brown. Then Bol Bol found his way into the league despite falling all the way down to number 44 overall and finally we say Payton Pritchard go to the Celtics in 2020 in the first round. Oregon may not be the best basketball school nor are they a top recruitment school by any means. However, they just seem to be able to develop talent unlike anything we have ever seen. Teams should be taking a far closer look at the upcoming prospects out of Oregon more often.
Number five. Chris Duarte is actually one of the oldest players in this recent draft. He was selected to lay for the Indiana Pacers in the first round but finds himself as one of the older players on the roster. It is pretty funny to think that other rebuilding pieces that the Pacers have been holding onto for years are somehow younger than their most recent rookie. Goga Bitadze, Oshae Brissett and Cassius Stanley are all among the younger players on the roster. Goga had that infamous picture of him sitting next to Zion Williamson prior to the draft and it feels like he has been around forever. Stanley and Brissett are two other young players who have been bursting onto the scenes lately and could potentially see a lot more playing time in 2021.
Number four. Chris Duarte traveled a lot growing up and needed to work on his English at one point. Duarte was born in Canada, yet he was raised in the Dominican Republic and actually grew up playing baseball instead of basketball. Basketball first started to come around when he was 13 years old but by then he had trouble with his English. He had to attend Redemption Christian Academy’s boarding school that was located down in Massachusetts in order to get situated before going even further down to Florida in order to play at junior college. Here is what Duarte told reporters about his fast-moving life, “I think me, by leaving the culture and my family at a young age, I think what I went through, high school, all the process. Being here without family, without money, first I was without a phone. So, when I wanted to call my mom or somebody close to me, I had to ask somebody for a phone. I think all of the struggle I was going through, it helped me to grow up.” When I first heard this story, I was shocked to believe it. I couldn’t imagine what he battled through during all of that time, but he can finally say that all of this hard work was worth it in the end. He is situation with the Indiana Pacers now and is one step closer to becoming an NBA Superstar. Make sure to stick around until the end of the video in order to find out just how good Duarte can be in the NBA and what talents make him so special!
Number three. Duarte did something that nobody else has ever done in Oregon Duck history. That was win the Jerry West award. We did mention earlier in the video that he picked up this award, but we didn’t say how rare it was for a Duck to win it. The Jerry West award is always handed out to the nations best shooting guard, and Duarte met the requirements nicely. Pritchard was able to take home the Bob Cousey award the year before Duarte by being the best point guard in the nation. Apparently, Oregon does a great job finding studs in their backcourt. Duarte was given the Jerry West award due to his hard work, consistency and improvement compared to last season. He averaged 17.3 points per game which was fifth in the entire conference. He was second in the league in steals per game with 1.9 and had 19 blocks in just 22 games played. Dana Altman, then decided to come out and say that Duarte definitely deserved the award. He mentioned how he was clearly biased, being his head coach and all, but talked about how crucial Duarte has been to the organization and through the COVID-19 pandemic. This was a seriously big deal for Chris, and I am happy that the award went to somebody who was more than deserving of it this year.
Number two. Chris is a father! Yep, you heard that correctly. At age 24, Chris Duarte is a proud father of a baby boy. He has been in a lasting relationship with his girlfriend, Sylvina Velazquez and the two announced that they were expecting a child towards the end of 2019. After a lot of thought they came to the conclusion that the child should be named Christopher Jr. His father does everything in his power to get some free time to himself in order to see his child and girlfriend. If you happened to tune into the NBA Draft, you would have seen how adorable Christopher Jr. is also! When Duarte and his girlfriend sat down with a reporter for an interview shortly after he was drafted, they had their baby boy with them. You could even hear him trying to speak into the microphone while his father was talking! Chris said that his son means everything to him and that he motivates him to continue to work harder and harder every single day.
Number one. Chris does pretty much everything on the basketball court. That may not sound that crazy to think about nowadays, but Duarte is a player that every team would like on their roster. I believe that if it weren’t for him being the oldest prospect in the 2021 Draft class, he would have gone inside the top ten. He is a great three-point shooter who can step in straight away and give the Pacers an instant offensive boost. Duarte has also shown an ability to make plays off the dribble instead of just sitting in the corner waiting for catch and shoot opportunities. Defensively, Duarte is more than capable of taking on multiple positions. He has some decent length and height to combine with his quickness to make him one of the better defenders in the class. With the Pacers recently hiring the veteran coach Rick Carlisle during the offseason, the Duarte picks makes a lot of sense as the team hopes to compete as soon as possible. His age shouldn’t even be that big of a factor because he has a lot more professional experience then a lot of other guys that were drafted. Every team nowadays needs that gritty player who can shoot the three ball, be versatile defensively and occasionally put the ball on the floor and make something happen for your team. Duarte checks off all of those boxes and could be a superstar if his offensive game continues to develop at a solid rate. The sky is the limit for this young man, and I am very excited to see what he can do when the get into the regular season.
If you enjoyed this video, be sure to leave a like, if you want more facts about rookies then make sure to click on the 10 Most Unexpected Cade Cunningham Facts next!