NBA insider says Rubio overhyped

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 26, 2009 - 12:23 PM

Agent and former Gophers player Bill Duffy questions if the Timberwolves jumped too early to draft the Spanish star.

Ricky Rubio

Photo: Dusan Vranic, Associated Press - Ap

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Bill Duffy, a member of Jim Dutcher's greatest recruiting class when he coached the Gophers, is now one of the top-rated agents in the NBA, representing players such as Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns and many other top players.

Duffy is also a great judge of talent, according to former Timberwolves chief Kevin McHale.

So when Duffy says he didn't have Ricky Rubio, the team's top draft choice, rated as fifth in the first round, you listen.

"To be honest with you, the other kid, Brandon Jennings, who played in Italy, ranked higher," said Duffy, referring to his client, a point guard who was picked 10th by Milwaukee. "I had three other first-round point guards, but I didn't have [Rubio] ranked that high. I think he is pretty good, but I think he might be a little hyped up.

"He is a flashy guy and he is young, but I think it is a lot of hype. I mean, he will be a good player, but they are trying to compare him with my guy Steve Nash or John Stockton -- I don't see that."

Duffy said he believes it will be a challenge for Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn to get Rubio in the lineup in the next two years.

And Duffy has had a lot of experience representing overseas players with buyouts.

"I think it may be a challenge, but the bottom line is that a small team in Spain wants money, so what may happen is that he may end up going to a bigger club in Spain -- they basically pay part of the buyout and then when he comes to the NBA, they get the rest," Duffy said. "But that team [DKV Joventut] needs money now, so they are more likely to sell him to another team like Real Madrid or Barcelona, who can pay the buyout now and then they will collect the rest when he comes to the NBA, because he is still going to have to pay the same amount, so there is a possibility that may happen."

There was a report Saturday by HoopsHype.com that Rubio was going to sign a deal for two years with Real Madrid.

Duffy can't represent coaches, but he has heard that former Pacers player Mark Jackson and Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis are the two prominent names that Kahn he has been looking at as the next Wolves coach.

"I think Mark Jackson is going to get the job," Duffy said. "He doesn't have a background in coaching, but most of this is just communication with these guys -- 82 games you have to keep them motivated and responsive to you. He can get some technical guys behind him, but he has to be charismatic, that is the whole key and I think he would do that."

Duffy says he believes that McHale will get a coaching job if he wants one after impressing a lot of people with the job he did with the Timberwolves.

Weber at Manning camp

Gophers quarterback Adam Weber had the opportunity this summer to work as a coach at the Manning Passing Academy run by Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning in New Orleans, where 900 campers participated.

"I learned a lot and got to meet a lot of great people that have done a lot of great things in college football and professional football, and it was just a great experience," Weber said. Oklahoma's Sam Bradford was among the list of other coaches.

"Eli talked about some tricks when you are taking a three-step drop. Just little things that are not so much written in the textbook -- it is not fundamentally how you are suppose to do it, but it is little things that you pick up of how to get rid of the ball quicker and where you want your eyes to be. But the biggest thing I learned was when Peyton and Eli held a little conference for all the college quarterbacks so we could ask whatever questions we had of them, and it was interesting to ask them how they look at tape, how they approach a week and how they approach a season."

Weber said the Mannings are there for the kids, but that "they really want to help you out and they also want the college quarterbacks there to have a great experience as well."

Jottings

The word on ace Twins pitcher Kevin Slowey is that he needs surgery on his right wrist and will be out for the season.

While touring the new Gophers football stadium on Friday with legendary St. John's football coach John Gagliardi, he told the story of how Bud Grant called Gagliardi to have him help talk successful Eden Prairie coach Mike Grant out of coaching. "Mike had been accepted to at least one law school, and Bud wanted him to be a lawyer rather than a coach," recalled Gagliardi. "But Mike [who played for Gagliardi] wanted to be a coach, and he turned out to become one of most successful high school coaches in the history of this state."

SI.com has Twins catcher Joe Mauer ranked as the second-best player in the majors behind Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. Former Twins pitcher Johan Santana is rated ninth, Twins first baseman Justin Morneau 14th, ex-Twins outfielder Torii Hunter 34th and Twins closer Joe Nathan 43rd, just behind Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, who is 42nd.

The word from the Vikings ticket office is that even though single-game tickets for the Packers and Bears games haven't gone on sale, the pace of sales for tickets to other games was about the same as last year.

Dennis Afton, longtime director of operations at the Metrodome, is one of 11 employees who will lose their jobs now that the Gophers football team has left the Dome and the Twins will leave after the season.

Gophers baseball recruit T.J. Oakes pitched a seven-inning perfect game in Third District American Legion playoffs Saturday. Oakes, the son of Gophers pitching coach Todd Oakes, struck out 12 and needed only 87 pitches as Jordan defeated Sibley East, 4-0. It's his second no-hitter of the summer. Oakes, who will be a freshman at the U in the fall, also pitched a no-hitter for the amateur Jordan Brewers. His brother Tyler Oakes is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 14 strikeouts with the Princeton Rays of the Appalachian League, a Tampa Bay Rays farm team.

One football player the Gophers are recruiting is Olney, Md., linebacker Troy Gloster, who is the grandson of former Gophers quarterback Sandy Stephens. ... Friends of Seantrel Henderson, Rivals.com's top-rated recruit, say that the all-around Cretin-Derham Hall athlete is not likely to join his former high school teammate Michael Floyd at Notre Dame. ... Roszell Gayden, the offensive lineman from Robbinsdale who committed to the Gophers, failed to make it academically and then turned out to be a great lineman at College of the Sequoias, is being highly recruited by a number of schools, including Minnesota.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. and on his Podcast once a week at www.startribune.com/sidcast. shartman@startribune.com

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