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Christ Koumadje’s Road To Becoming Defensive Player of the Year

By Keith Schlosser | June 17, 2020

Well known for their defense, the Delaware Blue Coats ranked first in the NBA G League in blocks per game, and second each in rebounds and defensive rebounds per game and it’s clear that Christ Koumadje served as his squad’s anchor down low. Averaging a league-best 4 blocks per game, he was on pace to break the league’s single-season block record before the season was suspended and later canceled. The big man ranked seventh-best in the league with 10.9 rebounds per game. He was an intimidating force down low, the engine that could for a team that oozed out with so much effort. Koumadje’s own efforts have been recognized in the form of the Defensive Player of the Year award for the 2019-20 campaign.

Standing tall and strong at a physical 7’4″ and 269 pounds, everything could appear almost too easy for Koumadje. But make no mistake: he’s a fighter. He has sneaky athleticism for a player his size and uses his physical gifts to his full advantage. It was difficult to take the ball inside and attempt to score when Koumadje’s massive frame was waiting for an opponent inside.

At 22-21, the Delaware Blue Coats didn’t finish the NBA G League season with a top ten record in the league. Sparked by Koumadje’s presence, Delaware owned ninth-best Defensive Rating (107.4). This team was a force to be reckoned with every night. Nothing ever came easy against this squad. They competed. They hustled. They exhausted opponents and made them work especially hard to score the basketball, even in losing efforts.

This team had the respect of its opponents.

Standing tall and strong at a physical 7’4″ and 269 pounds, everything could appear almost too easy for Koumadje as he led the way. But make no mistake: he’s a fighter. He has sneaky athleticism for a player his size and uses his physical gifts to his full advantage. It was difficult to take the ball inside and attempt to score when Koumadje’s massive frame was waiting for an opponent inside.

The season appeared to get better and better for Koumadje as it went on. He clearly had momentum in his favor. Playing second-fiddle to Two-Way Player turned converted NBA contract player (and sometimes assignee) Norvel Pelle for much of the early campaign, Koumadje was a team player who contributed in bunches while waiting to truly be unleashed himself.

The 23-year old didn’t let a single game go this season without coming up with at least one block. He tallied two highly impressive points/rebounds/blocks triple-doubles on the year, with his best performance (18 points, 20 rebounds, 12 blocks) coming against the Erie BayHawks on February 1. That wasn’t the only time Koumadje pulled down 20 or more boards, in fact doing it again with a season-high 24 against the Windy City Bulls on February 29. Proving to be efficient on offense as well, he pieced together three separate streaks of four straight double-doubles on the year. He swatted away five shots or more on 14 different occasions.

Koumadje is a special defensive talent who patiently waited his turn — that’s par for the course with most NBA G League athletes. But once he was given the chance, the big man made the most of his moment. This new honor seems to appreciate that, all while suggesting that a bright future in the NBA awaits if he’s eventually given a similar opportunity at the next level.

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