Former Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas was perhaps the most improved player in college basketball last season, upping his scoring average from 5.8 to 17.5 points per game and his rebounding average from 5.1 to 9.1 per contest. But apparently, Christmas' solid debut at the NBA Draft Combine 5 on 5 game today took some of the scouts and announcers by surprise. Christmas put up 20 points and six rebounds in just over 29 minutes of action - enough for one of his former coaches to call him a "beast."
SU assistant Mike Hopkins took to Twitter after the contest, posting a screenshot of the box score from the game. He was also a bit annoyed that Christmas is just now getting so much love - he made the point that the former Orange star did this all year against a tough schedule.
">@R_Xmas25 did today. Smh He averaged 19 pt,Rebs and 2 blocks in ACC. He is a BEAST pic.twitter.com/t4Sj0qODB9
— Coach Mike Hopkins (@Coach_Hopkins)
— Coach Mike Hopkins (@Coach_Hopkins) May 14, 2015
">May 14, 2015
Christmas is already 23 years old, which some scouts will use against him. But his stock is rising, and he may be more NBA-ready than most of the other big men in the draft.