NBA: The year Usman Garuba saw basketball’s other face: “There have been disappointing moments” | nba 2021

 NBA: The year Usman Garuba saw basketball's other face:

  • interview “I want to leave Africa and return all the sacrifices my parents made”

It’s like a year after a kid left the NBA and came back. On the way home, sensations are mixed Usman Garuba (Madrid, 2002), Bitter taste, appetite intact. Wide, strong, and it will look taller too. Injuries, a few minutes, several individual training sessions and even a stint in the unforgivable G-League. This is all for the player who commanded teams and national teams from the age of 13 until he started his teenage years with Real Madrid. “It’s been tough times, there’s been some frustration, but I’ve learned a lot in the process,” admits the Rockets pivot.

Your vacation will be fleeting. Some days now in Madrid, it’s time for reunions, events like this Thursday with Kellogg’s. Family time, which he couldn’t see when they went to Houston for Christmas and Osman contracted COVID and was confined to Philadelphia. “At least they could see the rockets”, admitted one of Azuqueca de Henares, who had always been so aware of his brothers. Uki and Sediq, who has already followed in his footsteps and made his debut in white. “My mother woke up at five in the morning in Spain and called me to make sure everything was fine,” says the first-time single. Usman also takes the opportunity to watch his former Real Madrid team-mates – “they’re going to win the EuroLeague, of course, in the final against Efes to get our nerves out” – and train with dave serranoHis finder, with whom he works in separate sessions.

“Now ‘my’ summer has begun. I just feel like working.” Next week a Rockets coach will visit him and then play the Summer League. Among his plans are, perhaps, a window of the end of June with the national team and, of course, EuroBasket. With Spain, Garuba lived his last maximum competitive experience in those quarters of games against the USA team. a special match. “I played more than I expected. In the end it escaped us. I have that game, because for me it was like the start of a new generation. They’re retired Paul, Marco… a big change is about to happen. I think we youngsters can go a step further, take the national team back to the top”, he dreams aloud.

“I hate losing”

Before packing his bags, Usman had a glimmer of hope at the Rockets, playing seven consecutive games (there were 24 in total), two of them as a starter. All defeat for a guy who had problems with exactly that last year, with assimilating failure. I worked with a coach on frustration. “Puff … Well, no one likes to lose. But I hate it. I’ve always been in teams, in mine, in Madrid, in the national team … I don’t have that mania to lose. But I am sure the team will improve in the next season”, he is encouraged.

Ask.- Everything has happened to him as an NBA rookie.

feedback.- It’s disappointing though, it’s been a year in which I’ve learned a lot of things. The main thing is that I have to focus on what I can control. And you have to be prepared at all times. Whatever be the situation. There will be times when you play 30 minutes, two more, but you have to be 100%. especially mentally.

Why.- Have you ever regretted it?

R.- Going back never came to my mind. not at all. If I had thought about it, I still wouldn’t have had to go.

Why.- Don’t people understand that you and Aldama have chosen to continue your training in the NBA?

R.– Shanti and I have chosen this path. In my case, I believed it was the best decision. Play and continue training in the best league in the world, but are already there. That’s what I wanted. Many people say that moving to the G-League is somewhat disappointing for a professional player who has been in the Euroleague. Those comments to me… It’s true that it keeps your feet on the ground, but let me say I’m there every day to be a better player, to learn, to get better.

Why.- What was the hardest?

R.- Injuries for sure. They have not allowed me continuity. I went to G-League and got injured. It was quite disappointing. I wanted to go down and pick up the pace because I didn’t play much in the first team. And I got injured. it was very hard. He had a very bad time that week after the wrist operation. But later, while recovering, with the trainers, I thought it was the best thing that ever happened to you. If you’re in a bad mindset, it’s frustrating and that’s not good.

Why.- And the most beautiful?

R.- Debut. And worked for so long without anyone noticing. With my coach, work, work, work. Last game, I thought: ‘I feel like a better player than ever’.

Why.- With the lasso I defended the opponent’s point guard and Stephen Silas Let him play five.

R.- I see myself as capable, but in my life, since I was little, I almost never played there. I have worked on my body to be strong, broad, ready for contacts. And also to be more agile and defend everyone on the track. And if I ever have to play four, that’s fine too. or three. whatever.

Why.- What homework does he bring?

R.- Understand the game out there, which is not easy. It’s more free basketball, with more space, the bigger the court, the further away the triple is, the more difficult it is to defend. And I have to work to meet my teammates. To be with them in the court and to know each one’s role, their merits, their demerits. And, based on that, focus on what I need to do.


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