All Access: Ricky Rubio Arrives In Houston

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

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Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio was a late addition to the BBVA Rising Stars challenge, as he was added on draft night by “commissioner” Kenny Smith on TNT’s live program.

And similar to Rubio’s addition to the All-Star Weekend festivities, the second-year point guard is coming on stronger and stronger as we move later into the season.

Rubio has scored in double-figures in five of his last six games, put up double-digit assist in five of six and has collected all four of his point-assist double-doubles on the season in that same stretch. After struggling with his shot through much of the season, he’s shooting 41 percent in February while averaging 13.5 points and 9.3 assists. And if you watch his play in correlation to the crowd’s enthusiasm, you’ll see how he’s playing drastically impacts the mood of the people in the arena in the stands.

So when Rubio joins fellow Wolves guard Alexey Shved on Team Chuck in Friday’s Rising Stars Challenge on TNT at 8 p.m. CT, he’ll not only be riding a streak of his best basketball on the court since returning in December after ACL/LCL surgery in March 2012, but he’ll be a seasoned veteran when it comes to the rookie-sophomore event.

Rubio was in the game a year ago playing for Team Shaq. He dazzled with his passing, most notably threading a dribble between DeMarcus Cousins’ legs in transition before feeding Blake Griffin for an alley-oop jam in the second half.

This year, he’ll be adjusted and used to the schedule of the Rising Stars Challenge, including the media availability and Jam Session practice on Friday morning and the gameday routine. But he also showed he is familiar with the media circuit schedule on Thursday, going through a series of interviews before wrapping up his schedule in the early evening.

He joined Sirius Satellite Radio for an interview as well as ABC/ESPN and NBATV, and he went through the NBAE photo shoot.

Rubio dazzled in his first trip to All-Star Weekend, and he proved he belonged by making his return as a sophomore. Now, on Friday night, we’ll get a chance to see him showcase his skills against the rest of the top rookies and sophomores in the NBA.

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