Fred VanVleet of the Raptors has come a long way in the NBA. His former coach, dwane casey, admits that he saw the ‘it’ factor in the young point guard since day one.

Casey, who was with the Toronto Raptors when VanVleet first worked out with the team back in 2016, said that something immediately struck him after seeing the Wichita State product.

“When he first came in for his workout I said ‘who is that little kid over there on the sideline?'” the current Detroit Pistons head coach recalled (via Raptors reporter Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports). “He was a little small-ish and unassuming and I didn’t really know who he was, but something stuck out. Fred has always had ‘it’.”

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VanVleet’s 2020-21 season has been somewhat of a validation for his former mentor. The fifth-year guard is slowly taking over the backcourt with the Raptors and has been on a breakout year this season. After catching fire in last season’s playoff in the bubble by averaging almost 20 points per game, the 27-year-old has been a man on a mission.

He’s been one of the steadier characters in the Raptors’ rather inconsistent season and his bet on himself has slowly been paying off.

VanVleet has been a staple in head coach Nick Nurse’s starting line-up ever since the Raptors raised the Larry O’Brien Trophy back in 2019 and is looking to continue developing into an elite point guard in today’s NBA.

Before the start of this season, VanVleet inked a four-year $85-million dollar deal with the Raptors. Not bad for an undrafted 6’1″ guard, huh?