Toronto Raptor Gradey Dick Seeks to Honor God

Toronto Raptor Gradey Dick Seeks to Honor God

In Articles, Sports by Carter Brooks

On Thursday, June 22, the Toronto Raptors selected shooting guard Gradey Dick 13th overall at the 2023 NBA Draft. Surprisingly still available at the No. 13 pick, the 6-foot-8, 205-pound small forward slid to Toronto despite being, by all accounts, the very best long-range shooter in the draft.

Operating at over 40 percent shooting in his first year as a member of the University of Kansas Jayhawks, Dick set records across the Big 12 in 2022-23. He finished amongst the top of his team in points (14.1), rebounds (5.1), steals (1.4) and assists (1.7) per game, while setting a school record with 83 three-pointers made as a freshman.

It was only a single year’s worth, but the memories of suiting up for his hometown university will last a lifetime for the 19-year-old.

“It is a dream come true,” Dick said moments after hearing his name called by the Raptors. “Of course, being at Kansas was a dream come true for me too, growing up there… It was as perfect a place for me to be at in getting prepared for this.”

Prior to the annual selection spectacle, Dick sat down for an interview with PEOPLE, and credited his success to the important people in his life along the way, while taking a moment to pause and reflect upon what really matters.

“Everything’s going so quick, so it’s good to step back and really just take time to enjoy everything and that’s what I’ve been doing,” he told PEOPLE. “I’d like to thank every person that’s helped me get to this point and helped me become the person I am today. First to God, and then my mom and dad. I talk about them a lot, but they’ve really done everything for me.”

Just a few hours before the draft, Dick shared a video message to the Kansas Jayhawks fans on Twitter, expressing his gratitude for the love and support he had been shown in his first year with the team. Wearing a dark black shirt, Dick proudly displayed a cross necklace over top the collar of the shirt for the duration of the video.

A quick look through Dick’s social media would also provide some insights to his lifestyle. A flashy dresser, the youngster often ensures his cross is on display when posing for photos – official or not.

A prolific sharp-shooter, Dick says he models his game after fellow Christians Paul George (Los Angeles Clippers) and Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors). He grew up in a Christian household and attended Sunrise Christian Academy, where he excelled on the school’s dominant basketball team. Prior to 2022-23 season, Dick did an interview with SLAM Magazine, citing his faith background and its importance in his day-to-day life as a young athlete.

“I was given, fortunately, all these blessings in my life, and that’s kind of my hand, and I’m trying to do the best I can do with it and glorify God while I’m doing it,” he said in that interview.

On March 31, Dick officially declared for the 2023 NBA Draft through a letter he penned, entitled: “All Glory to God.”

“First and foremost, none of this would be possible without God. I also wouldn’t be in this position without the help from my coaches, teachers, friends, and most importantly, my family,” the opening lines of his letter read.

With Sunrise Christian Academy, the Wichita, Kansas product earned the Gatorade Player of the Year award, joining Canadian Andrew Wiggins as the only other Jayhawks players to ever earn such a distinction.

He finished 7th in the Big 12 for three-pointers per game, 12th in points per game, 10th in steals per game and 15th in rebounds. He was a member of the All-Freshman Team and to the Second Team All-Stars within the conference.

He is a three-time Big 12 newcomer of the week (Nov. 21, Feb. 12, Feb. 20) and was selected to the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List. Dick was named a Big 12 Newcomer of the Week three times this past season, while being placed on the Wooden Award Midseason Top 25 Watch List. 

Now set to be paired up with 2021-22 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, Dick is the most exciting of Toronto’s prospects and will look to immediately help address the Raptors’ 28th-ranked three-point shooting from the 2022-23 season. 

“Just be prepared from the get-go and hit the ground running,” Dick said of his mentality heading into the year. “I want to do everything in my power that gives me the best opportunity to just be who I am as a player. Just give the city and the organization the player that they wanted, so just go and be consistent. All the work that I’ve done in the past is paying off and there’s still work to do. When I get drafted, that’s when everything begins. I’m just keeping that in my head.”

Carter Brooks
Carter Brooks is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favorite pastime.
Carter Brooks
Carter Brooks is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, coaching hockey is his favorite pastime.