Ricky Rubio Leading Young Suns in First Day of Training Camp

Ricky Rubio
by Cody Cunningham

The Phoenix Suns’ training camp tipped-off in Flagstaff on Tuesday morning and Ricky Rubio is already stepping up and embracing his role as a leader on his new team.

“Felt good to be back out there on the court,” Rubio said. “We have a lot of talent. Now, we have to put it all together. It takes time. There’s a lot of new guys, new coaching staff too. So, a lot of people have got to adapt to each other and we’ve just got to bring our best to achieve what we want to achieve.”

Head Coach Monty Williams was quick to praise the team’s point guard and the leadership and guidance he provided in just the first day of camp.

“He’s a natural leader,” Williams said. “If you look at what he did in Minnesota, what he did in Utah with young guys and with [the Spanish National Team], that’s who he is. Sometimes, at least the way I see it, you have to get out of guys’ ways and back them up. I want to encourage his leadership. I don’t want to get in the way. He’s a natural leader. Guys follow him because he’s a good guy and he can play.” 

While Rubio is known as a soft-spoken guy off the court, teammate Deandre Ayton is seeing a different persona on the court.

“We’ve got one of the best facilitators in the game to really put us in our place,” Ayton said. “He’s also a vocal leader as well. Ricky’s so quiet off the court you have to make eye contact to say hi. On the court, he’s on my tail like, ‘DA, come on man. Let’s go.’ It’s just how vocal he is out of nowhere when that ball’s in his hands.”

Throughout his eight year-career, Rubio has prided himself in his ability to lead by example, but is now stepping into more of a veteran role among the youth in Phoenix.   

“I usually lead by example, but I think I need to be a little bit more vocal here,” Rubio said.
“There’s a lot of young guys and experience gives you something that you know when to talk, when not to talk. I’m trying to do that and be more vocal out on the court, but at the same time lead by example too.” 

Rubio’s playoff experience mixed with his overseas success provides Phoenix a point guard who can not only guide them towards a winning culture, but also someone Coach Williams can trust quarterbacking his team.

“I’ve been on a lot of teams and the experience that gave me, but at the same time I need to help out Coach,” Rubio said. “I know what I can bring to the table. I have done it all my career, but every team you need something different. That’s the communication that I have to have with Coach, with all the guys on the team, young guys, old guys, all of them. We’ve got to be on the same page. We’ve got to talk. That’s what training camp is for. We’re here for four days. We get to know each other better and know what we want, what we like and what we don’t like too.”

Coach Williams was pleased with the way practice went as they began inserting a number of concepts and working through overall communication and defensive coverages. The team will remain in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University through Friday as camp continues with two practices each day. 

“We’ll get together as a staff after this,” Williams said. “We’ve already scripted a bunch of our practices. The guys, they’ll feel some soreness. Tonight, we’ll have a non-contact practice and walk through a lot of stuff. It will be quicker tonight, but it will be this way for the rest of the week. Same structure of practices.”

 

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