The Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship Thursday night for the first time in franchise history after defeating the Golden State Warriors 114-110. It also marked the first NBA Championship in the young career of former IU basketball player OG Anunoby.
Anunoby becomes the seventh IU men's basketball player to be a part of a team that won NBA Finals. He joins the list of Herm Schaefer (1949-50), Dick Farley (1954-55), Jon McGlockin (1970-71), Steve Downing (1973-74), Quinn Buckner (1983-84) and Isiah Thomas (1988-89, 1989-90).
Anunoby came to IU in 2015 from Jefferson City, Missouri. In his freshman year, he averaged 13 minutes and five points per game. The team made the NCAA Tournament that year and defeated University of Chattanooga in the first round, highlighted by a 360 dunk from Anunoby.
IU then defeated University of Kentucky in the Round of 32 before falling to University of North Carolina in the Sweet 16. It was the last time IU was in the NCAA Tournament.
Anunoby's sophomore season ended up being his last with IU. The Hoosiers started out 2016 strong, knocking off University of Kansas and North Carolina early on, which made them ranked No. 3 in the nation. But Anunoby injured his right knee 16 games into the season, needing surgery and missing the rest of the season.
Former IU Coach Tom Crean was fired after that 18-16 season and current Coach Archie Miller was hired. But Miller never got to coach Anunoby as he declared for the NBA draft and was selected 23rd by the Raptors in 2017.
Anunoby averaged 5.9 points per game his rookie season and was in the starting lineup as the Raptors advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals where Anunoby was tasked to guard one of the best players in the world, LeBron James.
Despite getting swept in the series, the Raptors made moves in the offseason to become more of a contender this season. Anunoby upped his average to seven points per game this season, but once again injuries presented problems.
In April, he needed an emergency appendectomy, causing him to miss a majority of the postseason.
Anunoby was cleared to play midway through the NBA Finals, but the Raptors rotation was already working well despite Anunoby being a key defender off the bench in the regular season.
The former Hoosier didn't see any minutes during the NBA Finals, but nonetheless, finished the season with a championship ring.
Anunoby is the first IU player in 29 years to become an NBA champion.
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