Before flying to the United States and dedicating himself completely to the new NBA season, his first among the Wolves and it is the first with a different shirt than the Jazz, Rudy Goberto stopped at our microphone to take one last look at theEuroBasket.
A euro that obviously ended on a bad note for the France, thrashed dryly in the final by Spain and had to settle for a silver medal. Proof that money does not (always) bring happiness, because the Blues had come to Germany to leave with gold around their necks, and nothing else.
In any case, this is what Rudy Gobert, the French vice-captain, told us a month ago. A few weeks later, we cannot say that his fifth international medal fills him completely. Even if, at 30, it at least motivates you to keep progressing, to ultimately succeed collectively.
” It will help us for the future, we will come back even stronger. »
— Between the Olympic Games and the EuroBasket, he now has two consecutive defeats in the final in France. What hurt you more: the one in 2021 against the United States or the one this year against Spain?
” It’s hard to compare. I can’t speak for everyone, but I think many will respond. [la défaite] this year, because it’s the Euros and it wasn’t the US team up front. But a gold medal at the Olympics is still amazing… Then you lose a final anyway, so it’s hard to bear and it motivates you to come back better. »
— Against Spain he was unable to weigh as in previous games (6 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes). How much did the Spanish defense hinder you?
“ We couldn’t get the ball inside as we would have liked. [Les Espagnols] He managed to destabilize our aerial game and impose forced situations on us. For my part, I was not aggressive enough. But it motivates me to progress more, to not depend so much on the players around me, to let my team win and weigh even more in the game. »
— How do you explain their collective unsuccessful start in the final, which then forced them to chase the score throughout the match?
“ It is a story of small details, such as shaky and insufficiently accurate passes. I wouldn’t say we missed it [de notre finale]because it is also Spain [qui a joué un rôle là-dedans]. I haven’t seen the game yet, but I think I will watch it again in the near future, to understand and analyze what made us frustrated at the beginning of the game. Because [les Espagnols] he took the lead quickly and even if we came back in the third quarter, unfortunately we ran after the scoreboard so it was tough. Also, we felt that they were having fun, unlike us, because we were up to 20 points behind… »
— In a way, wouldn’t this Euro 2022 final against Spain remind you of the 2019 World Cup semi-final against Argentina? Where you had already lost against a more disciplined team, collectively irreproachable and that punished each of your mistakes…
“ I see the idea, but I don’t like to compare the two contexts. Without wanting to look for excuses, when we face Argentina in 2019, we clarify ourselves. We had beaten Team USA and, the next day, we got up at 6 to take the plane, while the Argentines had been waiting for us calmly at the hotel for a day. There we faced a Spain that tactically put us in check and took us out of our rhythm, out of our comfort zone. We never managed to make our game, there were some good sequences, in particular to get the score up, but between our turnover and his address, he hit us. »
— Did the lack of additional creators on the team let you down?
” Clearly. You can no longer replace experienced players like Nando. [de Colo] and Nicholas [Batum] for instance. They are present in every competition and have been since my debut in the French team. It is when they are not when you realize that everything gets a little more complicated. But these transition periods like this are part of the sport, nobody is forever. It gave us the opportunity to progress and that is a positive thing. We gained experience and were pushed to our limits without our enablers. So it will serve us for the future, we will come back even stronger. »
” Whatever happens, I’m here to win and that will never change. »
— Finally, wouldn’t this loss in the European Championship final be the biggest failure of your career?
” There are two ways of seeing things. Obviously it’s frustrating to lose this new gold medal opportunity, but nothing happens by chance in life. It motivates me to go the extra mile and I know I have to, to be the player I know I can be. Sometimes these defeats create this little spark in your head that allows you to do what is necessary to cross [ce cap supplémentaire]. So if I have to lose two finals in a row to get to this level, that’s fine with me. »
— How do you perceive the possible arrival to the French team of players like Joel Embiid and Victor Wembanyama? Especially since they are playing in your position…
” They are two different situations and two different players. For Victor, he is an incredible talent, I can’t wait to see him grow and see him evolve. He has a superb mentality and there are no limits to what he can achieve. I can’t wait to see him join the France team. For Joel, we’ll rather wait to see how he evolves. There are still a lot of questions surrounding him, so we’ll talk about that when the time comes. »
— You are one of the captains of the Blues but, in the event of the arrival of these two players, your role may change. Are you comfortable with this possible change?
” Like I said, we’ll see when the time comes, things are constantly changing. At the moment, these are just hypotheses, so it’s hard to say anything about it. Whatever happens, I’m here to win and that will never change. »
” I will be able to be in a different position than I was in Jazz. »
— What’s next for you now that the EuroBasket is over?
” I’m going to stay in France for a few days to rest, then I’m going back to the States for Wolves’ Media Day. […] My presence counts, it is important to show that I am directly present. There, I know that all my teammates are already in Minneapolis, they were watching my games together, it was great. They sent me photos and messages during the tournament, I was happy to see their support. »
— Earlier you were talking about the type of player you think you can be. We have seen this summer that when you receive good balls in attack, you can score 15-20 points in a game. Has your offensive use been discussed with your new coach, Chris Finch?
” Of course. [Les Wolves] they know what I’m capable of offensively and they also know that confidence is a magical thing. When you give a player confidence, he is able to shine and exploit his full potential. So I think I’ll be able to be in a different position than I was in the Jazz and it will be beneficial to the team in the long run, as well as being beneficial to me. »
Interview in Paris, September 19, 2022
Photo credit: FIBA.com
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