How current Raptors performed in March Madness

Shout out to DeAndre Daniels.

With the NCAA Tournament tipping off Thursday, I thought it would be fun to look back at how current Toronto Raptors fared when they partook in March Madness. With all due respect to former National Champion and Raptors 905 forward DeAndre Daniels, well limit the discussion to the parent club.

Did not participate – International
Bismack Biyombo
Bruno Caboclo
Lucas Nogueira
Luis Scola
Jonas Valanciunas

Only one of the Raptors six international players the resident Canadian) attended a U.S. post-secondary institution, so sadly, this years foreign contingent oesnt include a Greivis Vasquez shimmying-at-Maryland touch.

Did not participate – Didn’t make it
Jason Thompson, Rider

One-time participants
DeMarre Carroll, Missouri, 2009 – After missing the tournament in two seasons with Vandy, sitting a year to transfer, then missing the tournament in his first year there, Carroll was a huge part of a 31-7 Tigers team in 2009. That squad earned a three-seed and made a run to the Elite Eight before falling to Connecticut. Carroll was pretty phenomenal, averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.3 steals, and 0.8 blocks in four games, shooting 50 percent. He struggled to a 6-of-14 night against U-Conn, but I blame Kim English. (I don’t blame Kim English, he’s awesome.)


James Johnson, Wake Forest, 2009 – The Demon Deacons earned a four-seed but got upset in embarrassing fashion in the opening round, losing 84-69 to Cleveland State. Johnson helped his draft stock, though, bullying his way to 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting, hitting four threes, grabbing eight rebounds, and recording four blocks. It’s really a shocker this team – with Al-Farouq Aminu, Jeff Teague, Ish Smith, and L.D. Williams – couldn’t make a deeper run.

DeMar DeRozan, USC, 2009 – Drew a 10-seed despite a mediocre season as the Pac-10 tournament winner, then destroyed Boston College before losing to eventual runner-up Michigan State. DeRozan totaled 36 points, 14 rebounds, and five assists while shooting 50 percent.

Terrence Ross, Washington, 2011 – Played just 10 minutes in a tournament-opening win over Georgia, then shot 7-of-10 for 19 points in a much larger role in a loss to No. 2-seed UNC, who would advance to the Elite Eight. Ross couldn’t lead the Huskies back as a sophomore in 2012.

Cory Joseph, Texas, 2011 – A roster that also included Tristan Thompson earned a four-seed, but both Canadians struggled in a Round of 32 loss to Arizona. Over two games, Joseph posted 17 points with seven assists, shooting 6-of-15 from the floor.


Delon Wright, Utah, 2015 – Wright transferred from a community college for the 2013-14 season, helping bring the Utes back to the tournament in his second year. Wright and likely 2016 lottery pick Jakob Poletl managed a run to the Sweet Sixteen where they were eliminated in an incredible game against Duke, one that saw Wright shoot poorly but make an impact all over the floor. In three tournament games, including one against Stone Cold Stephen F. Austin, Wright averaged 11 points, 5.7 rebounds, three assists, and 2.3 steals, though he shot just 8-of-27.

Multi-time participants
Kyle Lowry, Villanova, 2005-2006 – Lowry was a part of one of the most fun college teams in recent memory, often playing up to the three or even the four as head coach Jay Wright deployed a multi-guard attack. Teaming with Randy Foye, Allen Ray and, later, Dante Dunningham, Lowry helped lead the Wildcats to a five-seed and a one-point loss to eventual National Champion UNC in the Sweet Sixteen, then to a one-seed and the Elite Eight, where they again lost to the eventual champ in Florida. Lowry averaged 9.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.4 steals over seven tournament games and really put the world on notice in the loss to UNC, posting an 18-7-3-2-1 line with a 7-of-10 shooting mark on a major stage.


Patrick Patterson, Kentucky, 2008-2010 – Patterson didn’t get to be a part of one of Kentucky’s eight National Championships, but he was a part of two tournament appearances in his three seasons, including an Elite Eight run in his junior year. While he technically didn’t play in the tourney as a freshman, he was a major factor in Kentucky getting there, and only a stress fracture in his ankle prevented him from helping the No. 11-seed make a run. In 2010, Kentucky was a top seed, and Patterson averaged 10.8 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks while shooting 48.6 percent. How a team with Patterson, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Daniel Orton, Darius Miller, and DeAndre Liggins didn’t win the tournament, I’ll never understand. That dame Joe Mazzulla.

Norman Powell, UCLA, 2013-2015 – After missing out as a freshman, Powell helped lead the Bruins to three consecutive tournament appearances, including a pair of Sweet Sixteens. His role increased each year, to the point that his performance last year helped play him into the draft. He only sat for four minutes total in three games in 2015. Over seven tournament games across three seasons, Powell averaged 14.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, two steals, and 0.6 blocks while shooting 44.3 percent.

Should Raptors fans be paying close attention?
The Raptors have two first-round picks in the 2016 draft, so it’s natural to want to watch the tournament and begin honing in on some favorites. You should absolutely do that, as it’s half the fun.


As a quick refresher, the Raptors get the lesser of the Knicks or Nuggets pick after the lottery, as explained in a bit more detail here. That means the No. 1 pick is out, but there’s still a tiny shot at landing the No. 2 pick.

I’m still working through all the conditional probabilities for each potential landing spot given where the Knicks and Nuggets finish (and no, it’s not as simple as the lesser team’s odds in the general lottery matrix, because that ignore the right to swap and the important of which pick technically lands in which lottery spot). In any case, the white squares in this image are where the Raptors will have a non-zero chance of landing for each realistic Denver-New York finish.
where pick
The Knicks and Nuggets are currently eighth and ninth in the lottery, but there are only four games separating sixth and 11th, so a lot of shuffling can still happen. The Raptors will also have their own pick, which looks likely to be No. 26 or 27. With that said, it’s not a certainty the Raptors will keep both or even one pick, so do your scouting in each draft range with the understanding that those picks are also big trade chips heading into the offseason.

Jamal Murray is the name of interest to most, and he highlights a class of 21 Canadians in the tournament.

Any other names you’re watching intently this weekend?