Ricky Rubio Has the State of Minnesota Buzzing

December 22, 2011 – 8:15 am by Eric Schmoldt

The start of the shortened 2011-2012 NBA preseason brings the highly anticipated debut of Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. He came off the bench to notch six points, seven assists and six rebounds in a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks where more than 15,000 fans showed up at the Target Center.

Rubio said he was nervous in his first game, but the crowd seemed to love him. That said, he also hurt his ankle and wasn’t able to play in another preseason game on Wednesday. Still, with Rubio, Kevin Love and another rookie, Derrick Williams, the Timberwolves have a stable of budding stars, which the fans seem to be rallying around.

Ricky Rubio joined KFAN in Minneapolis with The Power Trip to discuss his first NBA preseason game, his tweaked ankle, playing a physical game, playing with Derrick Williams, adjusting to the NBA style of play, who he is looking forward to playing against, being far from home and comparing NBA seasons to those in Spain.

What was it like playing your first NBA preseason game and getting a couple of standing ovations?:

“Great, because I feel the warmth from the crowd. It was like packed, almost. It was like 15,000, even if it was a preseason game, and I see the warmth from them. You feel so comfortable when they are like that and they try to help you. … The thing that you have to do is … try to be yourself.”

The big problem was you tweaked your ankle. How is that doing?:

“Better. … I want to play. I didn’t feel the pain at that moment. It was my first game. … Now I’m feeling a little pain, but I’m OK.”

The Bucks tried to make it a physical game for you. Do you think that’s what teams will do against you?:

“Yeah, but it’s not going to be only for me, it’s going to be for all the players. They try to be physical, they try to put you out of the game and they try to do their best to win. Sometimes it’s like, play hard and try to put you out of the game.”

What’s it like playing with fellow rookie Derrick Williams? Did you have anyone that was like him while playing in Spain?:

“I don’t know. He’s great; he can shoot the ball, he can jump and he’s smart. It’s hard to find a player like him. It’s easy to play with him.”

You basically just lob the ball up and he can go get it, right?:

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I throw the ball and he can get it so easy. The second time, he went in so hard that he missed it. He’s so strong.”

Has it been hard to adjust to the NBA style of play?:

“For us, I think it’s easier playing here because they call more fouls and the offense has more advantage here. But on defense you have to be careful. You have to be careful with the fouls, because they’re going to call a lot of fouls here if I put my hands on. It’s going to be tough, but I will learn fast.”

At an open-door scrimmage, Kevin Love made you dance in front of everyone and sing Happy Birthday to a girl. What was that like?:

“I’m shy, so I don’t like that kind of stuff, but a rookie has to do it. They are nice with the rookies, so I don’t worry about that.”

Are there any particular teams or players that you’re really looking forward to playing against?:

“All of them. I came here to play against the best players, especially against Steve Nash. … He’s one of the best point guards ever. I want to learn more things about them, about him.”

What’s it like to be so far from family?:

“They’ll come here for Christmas and spend a week, a week and a half, and then maybe come back again. It’s things that happen. I’ve lived in Barcelona forever and now I have to be by myself here in Minnesota. But the people here are so nice, they try to help me all the time and I feel so comfortable.”

What’s a regular season like in Spain? How many games?:

“You can play like 60, 65 games, because you play your league, then the Euroleague and the King’s Cup. If you play all the competitions, you play 60, 65.”

So the length of this season shouldn’t be unfamiliar to you then?:

“No, but we play for like seven months or eight and here I’m going to play for four months. That’s the big change.”

Listen to Ricky Rubio on KFAN in Minneapolis here

Tags: , , , , ,

Post a Comment