Marquese Chriss can jump out of the gym. He is one of the most athletic players of his draft class. He is just scratching the surface of his potential.
Those were many of the ear-tingling phrases Suns fans heard about the young man Phoenix traded for on draft night. The 6-10 forward out of Washington has drawn comparisons to several high-scoring forwards, including two former Suns in Shawn Marion and Amar'e Stoudemire.
One man who probably knows more than most about Chriss is Huskies head coach Lorenzo Romar, who helped recruit the Sacramento native to play at Washington. During a Tuesday morning guest appearance on the Doug & Wolf Show of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Romar laid out exactly why the Suns were interested in his former player.
"You look at him, and he is immensely talented," Romar said. "He’s so athletic. He can step outside to shoot the basketball. He plays with a lot of fluidity. I think one of the big selling points for the Suns had to be the upside of Marquese."
Chriss' most NBA-ready trait is his pure athleticism, which was on full display in his lone season with the Huskies. The 18-year-old made a name for himself with ferocious dunks and high-flying rejections while averaging 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per contest.
Romar had the benefit of seeing Chriss' talent up close and often, which led to him witnessing several mind-boggling plays in person.
"[I saw him] go up and pin the ball with two hands on a blocked shot," Romar recalled. "It was really, really impressive when it happened. One day in practice he took off with two feet right in front of the free-throw line. One of our players was trying to take a charge and he just made a wicked, wicked dunk on him. He made some eye-opening plays."
Behind the Scenes with Marquese Chriss at the 2016 NBA Draft