Toronto Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet has long been applauded for his basketball intelligence. which extends off the court as well.
During college, he was twice given the Shelley Cox Leadership Award, which goes to the athlete at Witchita State who shines in the classroom.
Kyle Lowry has taken notice of this and given high praise to his backup (via Sportsnet):
“Just look at him! He’s not that tall, he’s not that athletic, but he still gets the job done … That takes skill, that takes knowledge, that takes smarts. And then he got here and you could tell he was a guy who watches basketball, knows basketball and knows his job. He’s smart as shit.”
According to the report, his development league assistant coach would ask his help when studying film. VanVleet said that he often provides veteran teammates with life advice, too.
Earlier this season, he was described as someone leading “with savvy and intelligence” and VanVleet echoed these sentiments:
“I’m not the most amazing athlete — I understand that. But my character, my IQ, the way I think the game — [those] are my things.”
Other reporters who cover him have described him as consistently “smart, honest and witty” during interviews.
His intelligence allows him to take control of the games for the Raptors, leading their second unit to incredible success. It’s an admirable trait for the 24-year-old.
While he may be undersized, his instincts will allow him to make an impact for a long time.