Ricky Rubio: Wikis

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Ricky Rubio
Rubio warming up with DKV Joventut.
Rubio warming up with DKV Joventut.
Nickname Ricky Business
The Abuser
La Pistola
Mozart
Big Blond
The Boy Wonder
Position Point guard
Height 6 ft 2.5 in (1.89 m)
Weight 190 lb (86 kg)
League Liga ACB
Euroleague
Team FC Barcelona
Number 9
Born October 21, 1990 (1990-10-21) (age 19)
El Masnou, Barcelona, Spain
Nationality Spanish
Draft 5th overall, 2009
Minnesota Timberwolves
Pro career 2005–present
Former teams DKV Joventut (2005–09)
Awards FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship MVP 2006
Spanish League Rising Star Award 2007
FIBA European Young Player of the Year 2007, 2008, 2009
Mr. Europa European Player of the Year 2008
Spanish League Defensive Player of the Year 2009
Catalan Tournament MVP 2009

Ricard "Ricky" Rubio Vives (born October 21, 1990 in El Masnou, Barcelona, Spain) is a Spanish professional basketball player with Regal FC Barcelona. Rubio became the youngest player ever to play in the Spanish ACB League on October 15, 2005.[1][2] On June 25, 2009, he was drafted with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves,[3] making him the first player born in the 1990s to be drafted by the NBA. The Timberwolves had an agreement in principle with his former Spanish team, DKV Joventut, to buy out his contract, but Rubio backed out of the deal, indicating that he felt he needed to mature more before entering the NBA.[4] On August 31, Joventut traded the rights to Rubio to FC Barcelona,[5] and Rubio signed a six-year contract with FC Barcelona the following day.[6]

Contents

Player profile

He is regarded by some as the best European guard prospect ever.[7] Rubio has been compared by some to Pete Maravich.[8] Says former NBA guard Pepe Sánchez, who at the time played at the point guard position for Liga ACB rivals Unicaja Málaga:

I think he's a freak of nature, being so young and being so skilled and also so cool all the time. You can see that he knows what he's doing. He's not playing out there with pros based only on his talents. He knows the game and he can only improve. I think he'll be a great player. It all depends on him, but I personally think he's going to be great.

—Pepe Sánchez[9]

Despite his notability, he has been carefully shielded. DKV Joventut and Rubio's parents agreed not to make him available for interviews until his 18th birthday on 21 October 2008.[9] However, the restrictions were ended a few months early once he was selected for the Spanish national team that would play at the 2008 Olympics.[10]

Rubio held his first press conference in early June 2008. During the event, he criticized what he saw as the NBA's emphasis on individual play and blamed poor team play for the recent struggles of the US national team, saying in Catalan, "Basketball isn't one-on-one. It's five-on-five, plus the bench."[10] He then switched to English, commenting on his competitive nature — "If I'm losing, I'm going to do everything possible to win. I do the same thing on the court" — and how he practiced moves that he saw in videos of Maravich — "If I can do some magic, I do it."[10]

Professional career

Spain

Rubio debuted in the Spanish ACB League in the 2005-06 season with DKV Joventut. He won the FIBA EuroCup championship with Joventut that year. He led the Spanish ACB League in steals during the 2006-07 season. He also won the Spanish ACB League's Rising Star Award that season. Rubio was also named the 2007, 2008, and 2009 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year.[11]

He made his Euroleague debut on October 24, 2006, versus Panathinaikos of Athens as Joventut's backup point guard for Elmer Bennett. Rubio averaged 2.8 assists per game in his first season of Euroleague play. He won the ULEB Cup championship with Joventut in 2008. He was also voted the Spanish ACB League's best point guard in 2008.

Rubio won the 2008 Mr. Europa Award. In 2009, his club Badalona raised the amount of money that his contract paid per year from €80,000 euros net income to 300,000 euros net income.[12][13] He was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Spanish ACB League 2008-09 season, and he also lead the league in steals that season. Rubio declared himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft on April 20, 2009.[14][15] Rubio's agent is Dan Fegan.[16]

2009 NBA Draft

On June 24, 2009, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired the 5th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov from the Washington Wizards, in exchange for Randy Foye and Mike Miller.[17] With the 5th pick, Minnesota selected Rubio, making him the first player born in the 1990s to be drafted.[18] The Timberwolves had a total of four first round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. They used the 6th and 18th picks in the first round and chose two other point guards, Jonny Flynn from Syracuse and Ty Lawson from North Carolina, surprising many in the NBA.[19][20] Lawson's draft rights were soon traded to the Denver Nuggets.[20] The Timberwolves then used the 28th pick to select Wayne Ellington, a shooting guard from North Carolina.

The following day, Rubio's father told a Spanish media outlet that his son may return to Spain for at least one more season.[19] Rubio did not attend an introductory press conference by the Timberwolves.[21] Rubio had a buyout clause in his Joventut contract reported by various media outlets as ranging from USD 6.6 million to 8.2 million, and Timberwolves general manager David Kahn admitted that Rubio may have to play one more season in Spain to reduce or avoid the buyout.[21]

After the draft

On July 22, the Associated Press reported that Rubio was seeking to leave Joventut, regardless of whether he was able to come to the NBA. The report indicated that ACB powers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid were both interested in signing Rubio if he could not immediately come to the NBA. The main stumbling block to Rubio's NBA move was a clause in the league's collective bargaining agreement that prohibits a team from paying more than $500,000 toward a player's contract buyout. Barça and Real, as ACB clubs, are not subject to this rule and could pay far more toward a buyout.[22] In another development, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on August 4 that Rubio's representatives had been actively seeking endorsement deals in Minnesota to help finance his buyout (the NBA buyout rules are binding on teams, but not on third parties).[23]

However, on August 31, 2009, ESPN reported that Rubio will not come to the NBA until 2011 at the earliest.[5] Joventut expressed a willingness to reduce the buyout, and the Timberwolves apparently had a deal to bring him to the NBA, but in the end Rubio did not feel ready to come across the Atlantic. Rubio issued the following statement:[4]

The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future.

Kahn believed that Rubio and his family were being pressured by the Spanish media, his national teammates, and people in his hometown to stay in Spain, adding, "It's just been a tough summer. From an 18-year-old's perspective and his family's perspective, it was very nerve-racking."[4]

ESPN reported that his original buyout with Joventut was 5.7 million ($8.1 million) in both 2009 and 2010.[5] Barça bought out Rubio's contract for €3.5 million ($5.0 million), and announced on September 1 that he had signed a six-year deal with the club. The contract gives him the option to go to the NBA after the 2010–11 season,[24] with ESPN reporting that the buyout at that time will be a more manageable $1.4 million.[4] His decision to stay in Spain will save him millions in the short term, but may have long-term consequences. The Timberwolves will retain his NBA rights for one year after his contract with Barça ends and he sits out from playing professional basketball for that year. When he arrives in the NBA, he will be subject to the rookie wage scale for 2009 draftees. He will also be two years further away from unrestricted free agency.[4]

Spanish national team

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Under-16 national team

In August 2006, Rubio led the junior Spanish national team to the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. During the tournament Rubio achieved three triple-doubles and one quadruple-double. In the 110-106 double overtime finale victory over Russia, Rubio scored 51 points, the first player to do so in FIBA tournaments since Luol Deng (in 2001), grabbed 24 rebounds, made 12 assists, and stole the ball seven times—a performance unprecedented in the tournament's history. He also forced the first overtime with a three-point, buzzer-beating shot from mid-court. Rubio was subsequently named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after leading it in points, rebounds, assists and steals.

Under-18 national team

In 2007, Rubio played for Spain's U-18 national team at the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship. In 28 minutes per game, he averaged 19.1 points, 5 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 4 steals per game. Despite his leadership, Spain finished the tournament in 5th place.

Rubio did not participate at the 2008 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, due to his commitment to the Spanish senior national team.

Senior national team

Medal record
Competitor for Spain
Men's Basketball
Summer Olympics
Silver 2008 Beijing National Team
FIBA European Championship
Gold 2009 Poland National Team

The young Spaniard was selected to take part in the Spanish National Team which participated at the 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament in Beijing, China. The team was composed of current and former NBA players as Pau Gasol, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Marc Gasol, Raúl López, Jorge Garbajosa, and Juan Carlos Navarro, among others.

He played in the 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament's gold medal game against Team USA, and thus became the youngest basketball player to ever play in an Olympic basketball final. Rubio shared the Spanish national team's silver medal after his team suffered a 118-107 defeat.

The next year he was chosen to play for Spain at the EuroBasket 2009 in Poland, where Spain won the gold medal by defeating Serbia by a score of 85-63. During the tournament, Rubio averaged 22.7 minutes, 5.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

Awards and accomplishments

Pro career

Spanish national team

Notes

  1. ^ "Ricky Rubio establece un nuevo récord al debutar en la ACB con catorce años" (in Spanish). Libertad Digital. http://www.libertaddigital.com/php3/noticia.php3?cpn=1276263122. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  2. ^ Burns, Marty (2008-08-08). "NBA types will have their eyes on Spanish phenom Rubio at Olympics". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/marty_burns/08/07/rubio.olympics/. 
  3. ^ NBA.com, Wolves Select Ricky Rubio at No. 5, accessed July 20, 2009.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Kahn: Rubio not ready to jump to NBA". ESPN.com. 2009-09-01. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4437300. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  5. ^ a b c Bucher, Ric and Sheridan, Chris (2009-08-31). "Sources: Wolves can't work buyout". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4435861. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  6. ^ "REGAL FCB scores teen sensation Rubio". Euroleague.net. 2009-09-01. http://www.euroleague.net/euroleaguenews/transactions/2009-10-signings/i/55545/3694/regal-fcb-scores-teen-sensation-ricky-rubio. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 
  7. ^ Wolff, Alexander (2008-08-16). "Hard to compare this 17-year-old". Sports Illustrated. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/olympics/2008/writers/alexander_wolff/08/16/usa.spain/. 
  8. ^ "The Next Pistol Pete". NBADraft.net. http://www.nbadraft.net/2006u16championships001.asp. Retrieved 2006-08-14. 
  9. ^ a b "Sweet 16: Joventut's Rubio steals the show". Euroleague.net. 2007-02-13. http://www.euroleague.net/news/i/8109/180/item. 
  10. ^ a b c Nielsen, Chad (2008-07-01). "La Pistola". ESPN The Magazine. http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3469578. Retrieved 2008-12-17. 
  11. ^ FIBAEurope.com Rubio article.
  12. ^ In The Game Rubio salary and raise.
  13. ^ Basketme.com Rubio gets a raise. (Spanish)
  14. ^ Marca.com Ricky Rubio confirma que se inscribirá en el 'draft'. (Spanish)
  15. ^ ESPN.com Agent confident Rubio to stay in draft.
  16. ^ He has in "Spain" Field goal percentages of 39.10%, and 3point percentages of 42.3%. Interbasket.net Rubio declares.
  17. ^ "Wolves Acquire the No. 5 Pick in 2009 NBA Draft". NBA.com/Timberwolves. Turner Sports Interactive, Inc. June 24, 2009. http://www.nba.com/timberwolves/news/Wolves_Acquire_the_No_5_Pick_-090624.html. Retrieved June 24, 2009. 
  18. ^ Taylor, Nate. first-round pick delivers guard only sweep, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, June 26, 2009.
  19. ^ a b Sheridan, Chris (2009-06-26). "Knicks' interest heightens Rubio hype". http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/draft2009/news/story?id=4290401. Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  20. ^ a b Skeets, J. E. (2009-06-26). "Report: Ricky Rubio's father says son may remain in Spain". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/blog/ball_dont_lie/post/Report-Ricky-Rubio-s-father-says-son-may-remain?urn=nba,172985. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  21. ^ a b Associated Press (2009-06-26). "Rubio won't be at Wolves press conference". USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/sports/basketball/nba/2009-06-26-4085123955_x.htm. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  22. ^ Associated Press (2009-07-22). "Rubio plans to leave DKV Joventut". ESPN.com. http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=4348398. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  23. ^ Walters, Charley (2009-08-04). "Shooter Now: Team Rubio hasn't given up on Timberwolves; A's finally land prospect from Twins". St. Paul Pioneer Press. http://www.twincities.com/timberwolves/ci_12989711?nclick_check=1. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 
  24. ^ FC Barcelona (2009-09-01). "Ricky Rubio signs for six seasons". Press release. http://www.fcbarcelona.cat/web/english/noticies/basquet/temporada09-10/09/n090901106510.html. Retrieved 2009-09-01. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Antoine Diot
FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship MVP
2006
Succeeded by
Dejan Musli

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