Usman Garuba, year II. It is the number of seasons that the young player (21 years, 2.03 meters) has been in the NBA. The power forward has increased his role and his benefits, although he acknowledges that he is “happy but not satisfied” and that his desire is to compete more. After finishing the 2022-23 basketball course, Garuba has visited Spain, and was present at an event organized by Kellogg’sa brand that promotes healthy eating and of which the Spaniard is an ambassador.
After breakfast, Garuba visited the boys and girls of the Felipe II public school in the La Ventilla neighborhood of Madrid, where Kellogg’s offers social breakfasts every morning of the school year with its program everyone for breakfast. The player declared, before his visit, that “It is important for me to set an example and that the children I see now at school feel that I see myself reflected in them. There are many boys and girls with limited resources or children of immigrants, as I was a few years ago, and I hope they see that with work and effort you can go a long way. My parents sacrificed many things for my siblings and me, so that we are where we are now.”.
Between breakfast and visiting the school, Garuba was able to attend to ACE and reviewed his present moment and his prospects for the futurein addition to giving his assessment of current basketball, giving his opinion on the Spanish National Team or the next World Cup.
What balance does of the season?
The balance is bittersweet due to the results of the team. Obviously we have not done the year we wanted to do. We had a lot of ambition after last year. We wanted to have a better season, but it couldn’t be. On an individual level, I am happy, in quotes, for having progressed compared to the first year, but with great desire to give much more. Very hungry to do better things and knowing that I am capable of it.
He said happy in quotes. Why those quotes?
Well, one is happy but not satisfied. I’m not as happy as I could be because I think I can give much more. And that’s what we’re working on right now.
Stephen Silas is gone and the Rockets have signed Ime Udoka as coach. How do you see this change?
I don’t know much about the new coach. I still haven’t spoken to the new coach and I imagine that in the following weeks I will find out more. It’s time to start from scratch and I have to earn the minutes. The whole team really starts from scratch, a new cycle begins. All my respects to the old coach, who has always been there and he is a great person. I wish him the best for the future for him and his family. He has helped me a lot to grow.
Now, it’s a long summer. Then comes the World Cup with the National Team. How do you think about it?
It poses well. You have to hit the table and show everyone that the Eurobasket was not by chance, as some people think. We want to show that this is reality and surprise many people. We have to believe it a little more. The goal is again gold.
What do you expect of yourself in the near future?
I expect a much more mature Garuba. Physically better, better at shooting and much more athletic. I am training to improve everything, to try to reach my full potential as soon as possible. It is a League in which I think I can give a lot for my conditions. There’s a long way to go, but we keep working.
We have seen difficult situations from teammates like Juancho and Willy Hernangómez. Is what they get in FIBA basketball undervalued in the NBA?
I don’t think that what we have achieved in FIBA basketball is underestimated. There are many things and many decisions that one cannot control, like contracts and things like that. They are two great players and what they achieve in the Eurobasket is taken into account. They are pending and they know who are the ones who compete in these events. In the NBA they are aware of all this. Willy and Juancho could be on any NBA team. But teams want to complement the stars and for the stars to shine and they prioritize that. That does not mean that you are a better or worse player, but that they want to give feedback to the stars. Willy and Juancho are two players who should be in the NBA. To those who I respect a lot, who have helped me a lot and who have given me a lot of advice before entering. La Liga is like that, but I think they will be lucky and they will do well. Why not: more minutes and show who they are.