Thursday, November 13, 2008

Rudy Fernandez deflects your praise

Greetings from New Orleans. It's pushing 3 a.m. here in the Big Easy, but it's always hard to sleep after watching your squad gut out a huge win on the road. Sleep is for losers, and the Portland Trail Blazers are most decidedly not losers. Especially not today.

Much of tonight's (or rather, yesterday night's) 104-96 win against the Heat can be attributed to the play of Rudy Fernandez. It seems like every game, Rudy does something to drive the opposing defense nuts. Leave him alone in the corner, he'll drain the triple. Close out to contest the three, he'll go around you and finish with the dunk. Try to get into him, he'll rub and cut to the hoop for the alley-oop. Try to anticipate the drive, he'll flare screen for the fadeaway three. He's the headiest Spaniard since Cervantes.

He's also quite modest. Try to pay him a compliment or get him to talk about his stellar play, and his responses always come back to giving credit to the team while taking none of the spoils for himself. During his post game remarks which lasted no longer that five minutes, Rudy continually dodged speaking about his career-high 25 points in favor of praising his teammates. Observe.

"I think it's the team. The teams is play great ... I think everybody is important. Today me, last day last game Brandon, last game LA. Sergio played great today. You know, it's everybody ... It feels good, but I feel good for the team, you know? ... I think it's Travis and Brandon is very good defense on Dwyane Wade ... I think it's together we play good ... I think it's important that today we win."

Luckily, Rudy's teammates have his back when it comes to making sure he gets his propers.

"I really love to play with him," said fellow countryman Sergio Rodriguez. "He's totally ready for the NBA. No question about it. He had a big game for us."

(Sergio had the quote of the night when asked by Jason Quick about how the latest Rodriguez-to-Fernandez alley-oop came to be: "I saw him in the face.")

Brandon Roy, the unquestioned leader in the Trail Blazers locker room, also heaped praise on his fellow shooting guard.

"He was great tonight," said Roy. "Sometimes I catch myself watching him and he's shooting floaters all-net. And just to watch how he's talking trash. I loved it. I loved every minute of it. Rudy's a competitor.

"I can't say it surprises me because I watched him in the Olympics and I'm like, 'This dude is bigtime!' So I'm just glad he's on our team and bringing that same enthusiasm to our team and that same confidence, because I know when he has the ball, Rudy going to make a play. That's Rudy. He's out there talking and having fun and I just love watching him play. If I was a fan, I would love to watch Rudy Fernandez play."

I think you could go so far as to say that if you don't like watching Rudy Fernandez play, then you're categorically not a fan, of the Trail Blazers or organized basketball.


David said...

Here in Spain we have no doubt that Rudy is that great. You're lucky that Rudy is in Portland.

If only MacMillan could see that and made the most of him.... but we know that Roy would keep throwing 20 shots per game...

Modesty and good work, that's what US stars need... and we do have a plenty.

Cheers Trailblazers!

Anonymous said...

My local Laker-fan friend brought up Rudy first thing today when I got to work. He was very impressed with Rudy's game.

erkiker said...

From Spain! You´re the best! Good luck for season!

marshdom said...

Great post, Casey. I love the BRoy quotes at the end. And your final paragraph (so true).

Philski said...

Hey Casey,
Can you make any comments about how the Blazers are out on the road ? Last year, there was a lot of talk about the commraderie. The entire team going out to dinner together, or to a movie together. What's it like this year ?

Zach and Yessidey said...

Hey Casey,

Thanks for the quotes! Do you really think Rudy is that sincere and team oriented, or is he making us all love him with some smart PR?

Whatever it is, the guy is without a doubt a baller. I love cheering him on.

Casey Holdahl said...

David: I think Roy and Rudy compliment each other very well. Say what you will about Roy's shooting, but the guy is an All-Star. He should be shooting a lot.

Tom: Laker-fan friend? That must be painful. Just kidding!

erkiker: Thanks!

marshdom: Much appreciated.

philski: I'll try to post something about the dynamic of the team soon. Bottom line is this is as close knit group of guys as you're going to see in the NBA.

zach and yessidey: I really wanted to convey how sincere Rudy is in his comments. You can tell it's not just lip service.

John said...

way to close it out, Casey. If you don't like Rudy, then what the hell is wrong with you?

Jesus said...

Yes-Rudy is great. Like everyone else, I watched the olympics and thought, "holy crap, and he's playing for US this next year."

There is one thing. MacMillan is making the most of the WHOLE TEAM. And Roy is just as modest as Rudy, Greg and all the others...

Agreement on the modesty...

Will said...


I'd love to hear Greg's comments after his playing time last night.

Rodman83 said...

The most important thing is that we now(spanish people)than rudy is very sincere because here in spain always speak in the same way and blazers fans could be happy,because he was the best shooting guard in euroleague and in spanish national team he has pau gasol,navarro,calderon,etc and he also do the same words when he plays his better basketball,and the team play is basic in the way to be better in europe.

Rodman83 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Colin said...

So... you're in New Orleans, rubbing shoulders and blogging about your favorite NBA team - all expenses paid.

I read your post, but didn't comprehend it because I couldn't stop thinking about how much your job must totally suck.

Zach and Yessidey said...

Thanks for the follow-up Casey. It makes me like him that much more!

Josh said...

Hey Casey, this is like 6 months late but I just want to say this was an awesome piece. Utterly brilliant.