No matter how the whole Minnesota Timberwolves/DKV Joventut thing works out, the 2009-10 international basketball season will be, to some extent, The Year of Ricky Rubio.
Rubio was yesterday officially presented with the FIBA Europe award for 2008 Young Men’s Player of the Year by FIBA Europe secretary-general Nar Zanolin. Aside from bestowing Rubio with this trophy, Zanolin also gave Pau Gasol his 2008 FIBA Europe Player of the Year award. (That was a bit of a no-brainer vote for sure; is Pau to be considered the odds-on favorite for 2009 as well?)
Also presented to the general public yesterday was the squad that would represent Spain for EuroBasket 2009 and damn, is it scary. Of the twelve players named, nine have at least 46 caps to their credit, while four – Jorge Garbajosa, Paul Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro, and Felipe Reyes – have more than 100. Start quaking now, Group C.
The Team Spain roster includes Carlos Cabezas (Unicaja), Víctor Claver (Pamesa Valencia), Rudy Fernández (Portland Trail Blazers), Jorge Garbajosa (Khimki), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), Sergio Llull (Real Madrid), Raúl López (Real Madrid), Alex Mumbrú (Real Madrid), Juan Carlos Navarro (Regal FC Barcelona), Felipe Reyes (Real Madrid), and Ricky Rubio (DKV Joventut).
(Just one thing, guys: No group pictures this time, all right?)
(FIBAEurope.com) – On Thursday, Spain introduced the 2009 edition of their national team to the public, and began by honoring two of Europe’s brightest stars.
FIBA Europe Secretary General Nar Zanolin was on hand to present Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio with the 2008 FIBA Europe Player of the Year and Young Men’s Player of the Year Awards respectively.
“Pau and Ricky are two of the most exciting players in the world, and it will be a pleasure to see both of them on the floor together in Poland at EuroBasket 2009,” commented Zanolin.
“They represent the best of European basketball both on and off the court.”
“I’m honoured to receive this distinction in a year that has been really special for me,” said Gasol who won his first NBA title in June with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I’m proud to be at the top of a list with so many great players.”
Rubio, who saw his first national team duty last summer at the Olympics, will likely be one of the team’s leading lights when they take the court in Warsaw on 7th September.
He is the first player to receive the FIBA Europe Young Men’s Player of the Year two years in a row.
“I’m proud to receive this award two years in a row because it proves I am working hard.” said Rubio.
“It would be a dream to become Europe’s best player like Pau, but I also realize that I have to take each day as it comes in order to improve my game.”