Auburn grad completes journey from free agent to NBA champion

Fred VanVleet talking to ABC News after his Raptors won the NBA championship.

Fred VanVleet, the 2012 Rockford Auburn graduate who became the first Rockford Public Schools 205 player to make the NBA since 1973, recorded another first.

VanVleet’s Toronto Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors, 114-110, Thursday night to win the NBA championship. That made VanVleet the first player in NIC-10 history to be on an NBA title team.

VanVleet was more than a bystander. He was the breakout star of the NBA Finals. In six games, he scored 84 points and held future Hall of Fame guard Steph Curry to 43 percent shooting.

In fact, the key adjustment by Toronto coach Nick Nurse was deciding to start VanVleet in the third quarter of every game after the Raptors lost game two. In that game, Golden State scored the first 18 points of the second half. Nurse decided after that game he wanted his best unit on the floor to start the second half.

VanVleet was especially crucial in the title-winning game. His 22 points was a playoff career high. It’s been a remarkable three-year run for a player who was undrafted out of college because there were concerns he wasn’t big enough or explosive enough to play at the highest level.

Watch VanVleet and Pascal Siakham break down the championship run on national TV.

 

A Championship Run
Date Score FG-FGA FT-FTA Points Reb. Asts. Stls.
May 21 Raptors 120, Bucks 102 5-6 0-0 13 1 6 0
May 23 Raptors 105, Bucks 99 7-13 0-0 21 1 1 1
May 25 Raptors 100, Bucks 94 5-6 0-0 14 0 2 1
May 30 Raptors 118, Warriors 109 5-8 4-6 15 1 2 0
June 2 Warriors 109, Raptors 104 7-17 1-1 17 4 2 0
June 5 Raptors 123, Warriors 109 4-8 0-0 11 3 2 3
June 7 Raptors 105, Warriors 92 3-9 0-0 8 4 6 3
June 10 Warriors 106, Raptors 105 3-7 2-2 11 2 1 0
June 13 Raptors 114, Warriors 110 6-14 5-5 22 2 0 1

Posted on 06.14.19