Credit: Zuma Press - Scanpix
Credit Zuma Press - Scanpix

Usman Garuba is only 19 years old, but at his age, he has already gained enough experience to be able to write a book. In just five years, he has gone from dominating the lower categories of Real Madrid and the Spanish national team to playing in the first team and the EuroLeague. And in two months, he will debut in the NBA with the Houston Rockets, his new team.

Next Friday, he will fly to the United States to join the Rockets pre-season camp, but before that, he opened the doors of his home to MARCA to talk about his feelings before his historic NBA premiere.

When he first put on the Rockets jersey to debut in the Las Vegas Summer League, the Madrid-born center admitted to almost falling asleep: "I'm not going to lie to you, and I'm going to be very honest, I was half asleep. I was yawning on the bench. But I did think, 'I'm here, what a trip I've made."

On October 20, the Rockets take on the Timberwolves in the first official game of the season. For Garuba, "the most important thing is to stay there, which is always the most difficult. For me, it will be a different experience because I am in a team where the demands are not the same as in Real Madrid, of course. I am in a team that's in a phase of reconstruction, with many young players. Our goal will be to improve day by day, and it is also my goal to go day by day, working and improving on many aspects that I have not been able to these years because of the demands at Real Madrid, which is normal."

Usman Garuba thinks that in order for him to live up to a competition like the NBA, he must "have the ball in my hands more and those kinds of things that I couldn't do at Madrid, where I had to adapt to a role because of the type of players there are. In general, to be able to do more and more things."

He also confessed that the Rockets "didn't ask me many things, they gave me freedom. That's the big difference with the game here, the freedom of movement. There are no positions there. It's more of a free game, it's becoming more and more that way, and for me, that's something that benefits me because of the characteristics that I have. I could use it, and I'm ready for it.

I am completely mentally prepared for what happens. I may play a lot or less, there may even be days that I don't even play at all. What I do know is that I will give a hundred percent to try to improve a lot personally this year.

I used a coach to improve the mental aspect, the head is the key to everything, and if you use it well, all the rest works better. I've learned it now, and it's very important."

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