Brandon Jennings was the first guy to go from high school basketball to pro basketball over in Europe and then to the NBA, finding a loophole in the league’s rule that players have to go to at least one year of college. When Jennings did enter the NBA draft, he was still just 19 years old, just a kid, and kids tend to run their mouths a little bit.
Back before the 2009 draft, Jennings said fellow European baller Ricky Rubio was “all hype.” Now, the StarTribune is reporting that Jennings is backing off that statement, about a year and a half later.
“I think that was just during the moment,” Jennings said. “I like to choose my words kindly now. I’m not 18 no more.”
At the time, it seemed like Jennings had a right to be upset. He was taking a backseat to a guy who likely wasn’t going to play in the NBA for a while. Rubio was a big mystery, so most of the buzz around him was a lot of hype. Jennings still shouldn’t have expressed his displeasure to anyone, because that stuff will come back and bite you, but I can see why he said it.
Now, he’s definitely changed his tune.
“I think it’s good for the NBA,” Jennings said, talking about Rubio. “It’s also good for you guys, the city of Minnesota because everybody keeps saying the superstars don’t want to come to the small markets. So for that, it’s just another great thing. It’s exciting.”
The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted Rubio 5th overall in 2009, and he’ll be playing his first regular season NBA game this year. Jennings fell to the 10thpick, drafted by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks and T-Wolves play each other twice in the preseason and then again in the second game of the regular season, so Jennings and Rubio will be seeing plenty of each other. Now that we finally get to see Rubio play, we’ll find out if Jennings’ assessment of him, whether he meant it or not, is true.