Speaking from his youth basketball camp in Spain, Ricky Rubio confirmed that he will participate in the European basketball championships this September. The most encouraging item of note, besides the extra opportunity to see Ricky play, is that he acknowledges the need for him to improve his jump shot. Not sure what to make of his distinction between selection and percentages, but the grasping of the necessity and his first real opportunity (since age 14?) to get some work done on it should be encouraging to any Wolves fan who drooled over the prospect of anything close to his performance in Milwaukee this season becoming the norm.
“I had told Juan [Orenga] that if I had no problem with my knee at the end of the season, my ‘yes’ to play at the EuroBasket would be 100%,” the Minnesota Timberwolves player said at a press conference for his annual summer camp for children in Barcelona.
“And I feel fine, so if he calls me, I will be there,” he added.
The charismatic playmaker’s rookie NBA season was cut short as he tore his ACL in March 2012, during a game against theLos Angeles Lakers.
Rubio missed out on the London Olympics with the national team and returned to action last December, but could not help Minnesota secure a place in the Western Conference play-offs.
He admitted that after all this time, at least in certain respects, he is still not entirely the player he used to be.
“Maybe I don’t jump as high as I used to, but then again I never could jump,” Rubio said jokingly.
“To be honest, I still have not dunked since my return, however overall I am very satisfied with my progress.
“The first month back on the court the knee was bothering me and I did not quite feel like myself.
“But, after that, I have had consistency and played 52 [NBA Regular Season] games, so that aim has been accomplished.”
Rubio is the de facto prodigy of European basketball; he made his debut in the Spanish ACB with Joventut Badalona before turning 15, and in the Euroleague before his 17th birthday.
“There is still a lot in me left from that child that debuted with the ‘Penya’ [Badalona] at 14, because I am still playing with the same enthusiasm and hope as I did then,” he said.
And there is one aspect of his game whose improvement he still considers as his major pending assignment.
“I am planning to make a qualitative leap this summer,” he announced.
“I will work on my jump shot, not so much on the percentage as on the selection of shots; it’s going to be the first summer that I will have time to work on it.”
While Orenga must have definitively been delighted to hear about Rubio’s availability for the EuroBasket, other news related to the reigning European champions that came out on Wednesday was not so encouraging.