Ricky Rubio: A Spanish Sensation

Alec McAfeeCorrespondent IMay 15, 2009

BEIJING - AUGUST 12:  Ricky Rubio #6 of Spain calls a play while taking on China in the preliminary round basketball game held at the Beijing Olympic Basketball Gymnasium during Day 4 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 12, 2008 in Beijing, China.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Ricky Rubio is the best player in the world that you don't know about, but why would you?

He lives in Spain, he's white, he plays professional basketball and, Oh, did I mention he's eighteen?

Rubio, a 6'3'' point guard, has been playing basketball for DVK Joventut of the Euro Premiere League, perhaps the second best league in the world, four seasons now.

In 2008, at seventeen, Rubio averaged 10.0 points, 3.9 assists, and 3.2 rebounds a game and helped his Spanish club win the Spanish National Cup. He has been compared to a young Pete Maravich because of his floppy socks and creativity on the floor.

I know what you're thinking.

"This kid is playing in Spain against nonathletic, European white guys."

Your assumption is false.

Rubio competed against the best players from around the world in the 2008 Olympics. Rubio, at seventeen, played like a savvy veteran against Chris Paul, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant.

He even got the start against the U.S. in the Olympic Finals, becoming the youngest player to ever start an Olympic Finals.

"He's [Rubio] played awesome," said Kobe Bryant during the Games. "He single alone changed the course of some games."

He even outshined USA-born Brandon Jennings, a sure-fire lottery pick in this year's draft, in a Euro game earlier this year.

He's been dueling it out with Europe's best for four seasons now and his success has led him to being a European sensation.

He will most likely bring his game westward next fall, as he has entered his name in the 2009 NBA Draft.

The NBA might not be ready for this lanky Spanish kid with the quiet demeanor, but then again Rubio may not be ready for the competition the NBA offers.

But it's okay, he's only eighteen.