Brandon Jennings edges off 'all hype' comments on Rubio

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 18, 2011 - 2:04 AM

The Bucks star dismissed his 2009 dis of Ricky Rubio as an in-the-moment remark of a teenager.

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Milwaukee Bucks' Brandon Jennings against the Wolves last season.

Photo: Jim Prisching, Associated Press

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In June 2009, Brandon Jennings competed hard against other prospective point guards during an NBA pre-draft workout in Sacramento and afterward suggested at some length that missing European mystery man Ricky Rubio was nothing but "all hype."

That was 30 months ago.

"I think that was just during the moment," Jennings said Saturday. "I like to choose my words kindly now. I'm not 18 no more."

He and Rubio met on a basketball court Saturday night for the first time since they played a European league game against each other three years ago.

Jennings played Saturday for the Milwaukee Bucks, who drafted him 10th overall in that 2009 draft. Rubio made his debut for the Timberwolves, who drafted him fifth that same year and then waited two years for his arrival.

Jennings said he was "a little bit upset" back in June 2009 because he and other point guards such as Steph Curry, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson and Darren Collison traveled from city to city to city for predraft workouts while Rubio worked out only for the Kings and did so alone, and he still got selected higher than any of those aforementioned guards.

Now is different. Jennings said he's excited to see Rubio play. And he will, three times in 10 days.

"I think it's good for the NBA," Jennings told reporters. "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."

Lying low

The Wolves distributed more than 15,000 tickets for Saturday's game, and most of those who went down to Target Center came to see Rubio.

And Derrick Williams says that's just fine with him. Rubio is the Wolves rookie who has received almost all of the attention so far. Williams, in comparison, has been nearly invisible publicly, at least for a No. 2 overall pick.

"I like to surprise people," Williams said. "That's how I've always been. Even when I was scoring 30, 40 points when I was younger, I was still the underdog. That's where I like to be. Ricky Rubio is a great passer, great player. I'm behind him on the radar screen, and I think that's a good place to be."

Feeling good

The Wolves made it through eight days of training-camp workouts without a single injury. And All-Star forward Kevin Love came through convinced he did the right thing by losing 25 pounds over the long, locked-out summer.

"My body definitely feels better, and I'm able to recover faster," said Love, who also credited coach Rick Adelman's decision to have just one long practice every day rather than two-a-day workouts.

Another opinion

Rubio made his American debut last month in Bucks forward Drew Gooden's charity game in San Francisco.

"He's an unbelievable passer," Gooden said. "You don't see too many guys with the gift to pass the ball with the swagger he has. His other parts, we know he needs to improve his game, but coming into this league, we know one thing he can do is distribute the ball."

Etc.

• Adelman started last year's lineup -- Love, Michael Beasley, Darko Milicic, Wes Johnson and Luke Ridnour -- against the Bucks for continuity's sake but planned to experiment with various lineups. He said he'd like try a different starting lineup for Wednesday's second and final preseason game, a rematch in Milwaukee.

• Former Orono High School athlete Jon Leuer, a second-round pick out of Wisconsin seeing his first NBA action, led the Bucks with 18 points. The 6-10 forward shot 6-for-11 from the floor.

• Love will sound the Vikings' Gjallarhorn before Sunday's game.

• Adelman is giving his players a day off Sunday for the first time since they began training camp on Dec. 9. They will resume preparations for Wednesday's preseason finale at Milwaukee and the Dec. 26 season opener against Oklahoma City on Monday.

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