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Nic Claxton’s college coach says rookie can be ‘absolute force for long, long time’

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Tom Crean was Nic Claxton’s college coach his second year at Georgia when the near 7-footer made enormous progress, going from averaging 3.9 points and an equal number of rebounds in 14.7 minutes as a freshman to 13.0 points and 8.6 rebounds in his second year.

Crean is always been a big fan of the Nets big man and over the weekend, Crean laid out just how big...

Of course, his Nets teammates have been saying much the same since training camp opened way back in October. Spencer Dinwiddie, who has said that he thought Claxton was “second-most talented player” on the team, pointed out that Crean is not alone in his estimation.

Claxton, of course, averaged only 4.4. points and 2.9 boards for Brooklyn, focusing instead on his development. Out on Long Island, Claxton was a force, averaging 16.7 and 7.9 with a shooting line of 66/56/76 and a reputation.

As C.J. Williams, Long Island’s veteran player, said of him, “probably the biggest compliment I can give him [is] he handled our games as if it was the NBA Finals Game 7 every game. Every single game.”

Crean was also big on the Nets selection of Claxton at the top of the second round last June... and since, even if he had to deal with typical rookie setbacks.

And Crean has supported Claxton despite his limited minutes at Barclays Center...

Will Claxton be a force this season at the Orlando “bubble?” It’s unlikely with DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen fighting for minutes at the 5. But there’s plenty of time. He’s in the first year of a three-year deal.