Toronto native Dalano Banton may have been selected 46th overall by the Raptors as a part of the NBA draft, the six-foot-nine and 204-pound guard has made history as the first Canadian to be drafted by the country’s lone team in the league.
“It’s a crazy feeling like just you know coming from Toronto, coming from the Rexdale area … a lot of things that you see, you see it on TV but you never really see anyone from your side of town or from your neighbourhood ever make it so far,” the 21-year-old said in a video shared on the Toronto Raptors Twitter account Friday afternoon.
“I feel like it’s a dream that I’m living out for myself, but as well as a hundred other kids from my neighbourhood. So you know I just want to keep pushing and keep going hard for them, and make them know that it is real.
“So whatever you put your mind to, just work hard at it and it will come true.”
Banton, along with Scottie Barnes and David Johnson, were selected by the team Thursday evening.
He averaged 9.6 points, 3.9 assists and 5.9 rebounds over 27 games in his sophomore season for the Nebraska Cornhuskers last year. He was previously at Western Kentucky.
According to a website post by the University of Nebraska’s communications staff, Banton sought to pay tribute to his Rexdale roots by choosing the number 45 for his jersey while playing for the Huskers. The post said it comes from the TTC’s 45 Kipling bus route, which services his old Mount Olive neighbourhood.
Bobby Webster, the general manager of the Toronto Raptors, reflected on Banton’s selection after the draft.
“I’m sure it was cool for all of us to hear on the broadcast, ‘the Toronto Raptors select Dalano Banton from Toronto,'” he said, adding he and others believe he has talents to bring to the team.
“He’s big, he plays a little point guard, he sees the floor really well, he can rebound really well.”
— With files from The Canadian Press