Raptors’ Freddie Gillespie takes unbeaten path from DIII to the NBA: ‘He’s not a normal kid’

Title: Raptors’ Freddie Gillespie takes unbeaten path from DIII to the NBA: ‘He’s not a normal kid’
Date: April 13, 2021
Original Source: The Athletic
Synopsis: In my latest for The Athletic Toronto, I wrote about Freddie Gillespie’s unlikely path to the NBA, from chess club through Division III basketball and eventually to the Raptors.

The Toronto Raptors had a difficult decision to make after their victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

Normally the domain of team vet Kyle Lowry, head coach Nick Nurse had collected the game ball at the final buzzer. It’s a shame there weren’t a few more to go around. Yuta Watanabe scored a career-high 14 points in a strong bench performance. Malachi Flynn joined Damon Stoudamire as the only Raptors rookies with a 20-point, 10-assist double-double. Gary Trent Jr. obliterated his previous career-high with 44 points with the most efficient shooting 40-point night in franchise history.

Career nights can be beaten, though. You only score your first NBA points once. The smile on the Raptors postgame Instagram post gave it away — the game ball had been given to Freddie Gillespie. The 23-year-old earned it in the same way he’s earned everything in his basketball career, and the same way he intends to turn this 10-day contract with the Raptors into a longer-term fit — not by trying to be a star, but by starring in his role.

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