Kings Blog and Q&A

News, observations and reader questions about the Sacramento Kings and the NBA.

June 16, 2009
Bee exclusive interview with Ricky Rubio
BLOG UPDATE: I've added a transcript of Rubio's interview below the video.

Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio was kind enough to spend some time with The Bee during his Sacramento visit, cramming the one-on-one interview in between his physical at the UC Davis Medical Center and his dinner with Kings officials downtown.

In a hotel chat that came with a few logistical and technical challenges, the below video comes with one disclaimer: our photographer, Hector Amezcua, was videotaping without my knowledge. That doesn't really matter until the midway point, where I fumble with my handheld video cam while not realizing until after the fact that I didn't need to be taping at all. It's a comical moment in an otherwise interesting eight minutes.

After coming from Spain just days ago and then from Los Angeles to Sacramento today, Rubio does not have any other visits scheduled on his trip. The next day could very well determine whether that remains the case, so it's a vital time for this high-profile prospect in that respect. We'll obviously weigh in on his visit and whether he's headed to Sacramento in tomorrow's paper (read story here). Also, there is a transcript of the interview below the video (just click on 'continue reading')

RICKY RUBIO

On why it was a priority to visit with the Kings...

"I came yesterday from Barcelona to LA, then today I take a flight to Sacramento to visit the team, the city, and all the GMs. We're going to see what they want about me, they're going to explain what they want.

On how he sees the Kings as a fit for him...

"It's a good team, they are very good players and young too. That's important, because I'm a young player and when I come to any team (in) NBA, I want to get friends, young friends to try to get with them and we will see."

On what the Olympic experience did to prove to himself he could compete in NBA...

"Olympic Game was one of the best championships that I've played before. I played against the best NBA players, and the best point guards, like Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Jason Kidd. I learned a lot to play against them. I watched all the games from the US, because I want to learn from these people. I think I proved a lot in this championship."

On his NBA goals...

"I come here to play and to play the minutes. I didn't come here to play in the NBA, and (be) done. No, I want to be a really good point guard here in the best league in the world, and I want to have minutes. So I have to find the team who wants me, who really wants me."

On whether his buyout will keep him playing this season in the NBA...

"That's hard, but my agents are working on that. It's a big buyout, but my agents are working on that. I have all confidence to resolve this problem. And then, if I come here, I want to play, so I know that I can play here because in the Olympic games, I feel like I'm ready to play."

Describing his game...

"A point guard, so that means I have to...put all the players in his position and what they have to do. That's hard when you are young, but I had a really good teacher in my first year, in (Spanish) ACB (League) was Elmer Bennett. He (taught) me a lot. He was like 35 years old, and he was like my dad on the court. He (taught) me a lot. My best thing is what play I have to do at the right time. And then I love to run, to defend and run. That's it."

On his leadership ability and the fact that Kings basketball president Geoff Petrie was impressed by that quality in his European scouting trip last month...

"That's great, no? That sounds great (regarding Petrie). I'm only 18 years old, but I'm in the court like big big man. If your teammates don't respect you, you can't be a point guard, so that's very important. When you are a leader, the point guard who leads your team, your team gets better."

On handling the target that will likely be on his back in the NBA...

"Of course. I like the (challenges)...I love to play, and when I have a game, I try to get better. And if he tries to beat me, I will be better. If everybody tries to compete against me, I will be better."

On the Kings roster...

"I don't know the names, but I looked at the rosters. I looked at age, when they were born. That's important that the team has young guys." - Sam Amick



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