The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed Ricky Rubio, the fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, to a multi-year contract. Rubio joins the Wolves following a decorated professional career in Spain that began when he was just 14 years old, the youngest ever to compete in the Spanish ACB League, and culminated with his FC Barcelona Team winning the 2011 ACB Championship earlier this week. Per team policy, terms of the contract offer were not disclosed.
“This is a day our organization and our fans have been eagerly awaiting from the moment we drafted him, and I couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Ricky to Minnesota,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Ricky’s skill set and feel for the game have made him one of the best young players in Europe for six years now, and at age 20 he’s still a young player with a lot of upside. I expect Ricky to enjoy a long and successful career here in Minnesota.”
Rubio and his FC Barcelona team clinched the 2011 ACB Championship on Tuesday, capping a two-year run in which the team also won two Catalan Cup Tournaments, two Spanish Supercups, two Spanish King’s Cups and the 2010 Euroleague title. Along the way Rubio earned All-ACB honors and was named the league’s Best Point Guard following the 2009-10 season. Rubio was also honored as the MVP of the 2009 Catalan Cup Tournament and won the 2010 Euroleague Rising Star Award as the best player under the age of 22 in Europe. In his two seasons with FC Barcelona, Rubio appeared in 68 regular season games, averaging 5.9 points, 3.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.85 steals in 21.6 minutes per game.
Prior to joining FC Barcelona, Rubio played four seasons with DKV Joventut Badalona, where he averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 20.3 minutes per game. Rubio won FIBA Europe’s Young Player of the Year award in each of his final three seasons with Joventut, honoring him as the top player in Europe under the age of 22. He was also selected as the ACB Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
A longtime member of the Spanish National Team, Rubio competed in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, helping Spain win a silver medal. At age 17, Rubio was the youngest player ever to compete in the gold medal game at the Olympics. Rubio also led his Spanish team to the 2006 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, where he averaged 22.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 7.1 assists and 6.5 steals per game. Rubio posted two triple-doubles and a quadruple-double during the tournament, including a 51-point, 24-rebound, 12-assist, 7-steal performance in the championship game against Russia.