February 9, 2016

Echenique signs with Toronto

Creighton center Gregory Echenique will get the opportunity to pursue his dream of an NBA career after the former Creighton center agreed to play in the NBA Summer League the Toronto Raptors organization.

A 6-foot-9 center from Guatire, Venezuela, Echenique averaged 10.0 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots in three years (101 games) with Creighton. Echenique became CU’s first player named MVC Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-12 and is the only player in program history to earn three honors on The Valley’s All-Defensive Team. Echenique twice was named to the MVC’s All-Tournament Team, and earned honorable-mention All-MVC accolades following his senior year with the Bluejays. He graduated from Creighton with a degree in International Business in May.

Creighton went 75-26 with Echenique in the line-up in recent years, including back-to-back MVC Tournament titles (2012 & 2013), the 2012-13 MVC regular-season title, and wins in the 2012 and 2013 NCAA Tournaments. The Bluejays are coached by Greg McDermott.

Echenique spent the 2008-09 season and the first seven games in 2009-10 at Rutgers, where he averaged 9.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 39 contests. He transferred to Creighton, where he enrolled in the spring 2010 semester and sat out a mandatory transfer year.

Echenique has already established himself at the international level, playing for the Venezuelan National Team in both the 2009 and 2011 FIBA Americas Tournament, as well as the 2012 Olympic Qualifier. In those events, he went head-to-head against NBA big men Al Horford, Luis Scola, Andres Nocioni, Renaldo Balkman, Tiago Splitter and Charlie Villanueva, among others.

Echenique is the third former Creighton player currently in the NBA, joining Kyle Korver and Anthony Tolliver, who spent last season as teammates with the Atlanta Hawks. Tolliver was not selected in the 2007 NBA Draft but made the Cleveland Cavaliers opening-night roster that fall, and has spent five seasons in the NBA.

The NBA Summer League will be held in Las Vegas, Nev., and run from July 12-22. Seven of the last eight NBA Rookie of the Year winners have participated in the league. Echenique will report on July 9th.

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