Trail Blazers sign Spanish international forward Victor Claver

Think back to the 2009 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Clippers drafted stud Blake Griffin with the number one pick, and the Portland Trail Blazers used their 22nd pick to select Spanish forward Victor Claver.

The team felt he needed more time to work his game overseas and played six seasons with the Valencia BC club from 2006-2012. According to Wikipedia, Claver won a bronze medal at the 2006 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship and a bronze medal at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-20 Championship. He has also played with the senior Spanish national basketball team. He won a gold medal at the EuroBasket 2009.

On Wednesday morning the Blazers made it official that Claver was ready to try out the NBA and inked him to his long-awaited deal.

From the Portland Trail Blazers front office:

PORTLAND, Ore. – The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Victor Claver, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

A native of Valencia, Spain, Claver joins the Trail Blazers three years after the team selected him with the 22nd overall pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft.

“Victor is a player with a high basketball IQ who will come in as a good complement to our roster,” said Olshey. “He defends well for his size, has a nice shooting touch, and we look forward to having him on board.”

A member of the Spanish national basketball team that will compete in the 2012 London Olympics this summer, Claver (6-10, 235) joins the Trail Blazers from Valencia in the Spanish ACB League, where he averaged 8.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.22 steals and 25.8 minutes in 37 ACB and Eurocup games. In six seasons with Valencia, Claver posted averages of 7.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.99 steals and 22.2 minutes.

Claver, 23, won the 2010 Eurocup Rising Star Award, an honor given to the most outstanding young player in the competition.

He will wear No. 18 with the Trail Blazers.

Here is video from when Claver was drafted. Note that Kevin Prichard was still the GM…

photo courtesy of