Madrid, Sep 1 (EFE) .- The Spanish basketball player Usman Garuba (Madrid, 2002), who will play next season for the NBA’s Houston Rockets, declared to EFE that “although the important thing is to stay in the NBA” and “live the experience”, “when the time comes I would like to return to Real Madrid”.
Usman Garuba, known as ‘La Pantera de Azuqueca’, leaves Real Madrid after being chosen number 23 in the first round of the draft and three seasons in the first team. He came to the white team in 2013, at the age of eleven, and since then he has been an outstanding player in all categories.
European Under-16 champion and MVP of the tournament with the Spanish national team in 2019, Garuba debuted with the Real Madrid first team in 2018, which made him the third youngest player of the whites to debut in the ACB, only surpassed by the Slovenian Luka Doncic and the Spanish Roberto Núñez.
Chosen as the Best Young Player in the ACB League and as the Emerging Star of the Euroleague this season, Garuba arrives at a Houston Rockets called to evolve and who have bet on young talent. In an interview with EFE, the young pivot reviews his arrival in the NBA and his immediate future, among other matters.
QUESTION: How did you experience draft night from the Olympic Village?
ANSWER: At that time my house was in an uproar and full of friends and family. Living it with the team mates in the town who got up early to accompany me was very good.
Q: Have you dreamed of reaching the NBA?
A: Yes, I had dreamed it. I have had in mind for many years to play in the NBA with the best in the world and where the stars of this sport have played. It is an honor for me to be there.
Q: Who is your favorite player?
A: Giannis Antetokoumpo (Greek Milwaukee Bucks player). I have followed him since he was little.
Q: What can you bring to Houston and what needs to improve?
A: I can contribute many things to the team. I can help in 1×1 situations in the changes -which is what they propose with me- and thus change with the pick and roll and defend the point guard or outside. I think I can help you a lot in that. Offensively, having more space I can improve a lot in that aspect and make my teammates better.
Q: What percentage of this success do Pablo Laso (Real Madrid coach) and Dave Serrano (Garuba’s first coach and Spanish coach in summer) have?
A: Everything, really. They are the ones who have helped me and demanded of me. From Dave in summer training to Pablo yelling at me in time-out talk; all of these are details that make you improve as a player. People who demand the most from you do it for your good.
Q: Would you like to return to Real Madrid?
A: Now I have to live the NBA experience, but when the time comes I would like to return. The public of the Palacio de los Deportes is something that I will miss a lot and that I will miss. Being on your city team is always something special and I always keep it in mind.