Chris Boucher is Oregon’s 2017 NBA draft sleeper

Nov 17, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) walks off the court following a win against the Valparaiso Crusaders at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 17, 2016; Eugene, OR, USA; Oregon Ducks forward Chris Boucher (25) walks off the court following a win against the Valparaiso Crusaders at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports /

Chris Boucher has gone from NJCAA Division 1 Player of the Year, to a rotation player at Oregon and now is working his way up NBA Draft boards. The 6-foot-10 forward started his basketball career in Montreal, eventually making his way to New Mexico Junior College. He started making his mark the next season with Northwest College where he averaged 22.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game on his way to being named NJCAA Division 1 Player of the Year.

The offers started piling up while he was playing well enough to be named a first team NJCAA All-American. Idaho State, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Texas Tech, TCU and Utah State all offered him slots while Arizona State, California, East Carolina, Utah and Washington State were interested. He eventually picked the Ducks and hasn’t looked back since.

Boucher has not put up stats equivalent to his JuCo days so far at Oregon, but he has been just as effective for the Ducks. Not all rangy, athletic forwards translate to the next level, but Boucher has been one of Oregon’s best players.

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In his first season with the Ducks, Boucher averaged 12.4 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks. He shot an efficient 53.9 from the floor, but was streaky from 3-point range and ended the season shooting 33.9 percent; still a quality number for a player his size.

He’s started his senior season shooting more shots per game, but at a more efficient rate. Shooting 58.8 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from 3-point range through nine games this season are both improvements for the senior forward — as are his 13.6 points and 3.0 blocks per game averages.

Boucher runs the floor with speed, and he fills lanes perfectly. He uses his long strides to get ahead of the defense where Oregon guards routinely find him for alley-oops. It’s easy to hit a  6-foot-10 target who runs fast and can sky over opponents. He positions himself really well in the open court, which allows for more open looks.

Transition isn’t the only place Boucher eats — he is an effective half court player in his own way. He’s not a great post player as he’s better with quick post-ups on one or two dribbles where he uses his athleticism to go towards the rim. Roaming and cutting around the baseline allows him to get open for alley-oops or dunks off dump-offs from guards. When he’s not cutting off the ball he’s finding spot-up opportunities.

Per Synergy, Boucher is shooting 38.5 percent and producing 1.069 points per possession on spot up shooting opportunities. He’s somewhat of a streaky 3-point shooter who needs more than one or two attempts to get dialed in from deep. Oregon seems to have given him more of a green light from deep this season as he’s already shot five or more 3s twice this season — something he only did five times last season.

A 7-foot-3.5 wingspan allows Boucher to be an elite shot blocker — maybe one of the best in the nation. He is able to block any kind of shot on the floor, and is a good rim protector. Despite the number of blocked shots and how he plays defense, Boucher has an amazing knack for avoiding fouling. Last season he only had four fouls once and only fouled out one time. This season he hasn’t been in serious foul trouble at all.

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Someone with Boucher’s height, athleticism and length should be a better rebounder as he only averages seven per game. It’s partially because of his weight — he clocks in at 193 pounds — and because he gets caught away from the rim sometimes.

If Boucher keeps playing well, expect to see his name moving up draft boards. He has already gone from a fringe second rounder to a lock in the second round. Don’t be surprised to see him as a sleeper first round pick by the end of the season.