Houston Rockets Usman Garuba Taking Advantage Of Second-Year Opportunity

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HOUSTON — UsmanGaruba was dejected as he walked around the Houston Rockets Summer League Tournament practice facility. After sustaining an ankle injury in the practice facility of the Houston Rockets Summer League tournament, Garuba took to the streets in a walk-in booth.

Garuba’s absence was viewed as a missed opportunity, as the injury prevented the second-year prospect from creating separation between himself and the rest of his counterparts lobbying for minutes at his position. Garuba took advantage of a new opportunity that presented itself sooner than expected, three months after his unfortunate stay in Las Vegas.

” “The thing that stands out about Garuba is his energy,” coach Stephen Silas stated. He is vocal when he is with his teammates. Last year, we didn’t get to see him as much. He is a man that can get everyone moving this year, even though he has a bigger role. “

Following the injury to Bruno Fernando, Silas inserted Garuba into the starting lineup ahead of their 125-105 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. Silas stated that Garuba was added to the lineup to help with Giannis Antetokounmpo’s defensive efforts.

There wasn’t much Garuba could do to prevent Antetokounmpo from recording a season-best 44 points against the Rockets. However, Houston has remained competitive nightly thanks to Garuba’s contributions.

In the three games Garuba has played this season, he averaged 5.7 rebounds per game and 1.3 steals.

Despite missing almost all of his rookie season and summer league, Garuba stated that he used the time on the sidelines to learn how the NBA game from afar. Garuba learned a lot from watching the game from the bench, including how to stay prepared.

But Garuba gave his most significant credit to the time he spent playing in the 2022 EuroBasket tournament.

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He averaged 4.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists during the European summer tournament while helping Spain win a gold medal during the Berlin-based championship finale on Sept. 18.

Garuba said the most noteworthy benefit he experienced during his time at the EuroBasket tournament was playing the five — a position where he has played 96 percent of his time so far this season. Garuba stated that the experience has been very beneficial to him. “It was important for me that I found my rhythm after missing almost all of last year’s summer league. This was how I approached this summer and it was fantastic. “

Garuba started his second campaign in uncertainty. He left Las Vegas in July without being able to prove his worth as a reliable player in the Silas’ rotation.

But, in three games Garuba played at beginning of the year he showed why the Rockets continue view him as a possible building block once he is healthy and available.

“After missing quite a bit of time, you can see a lot from the bench,” Garuba stated. “I’ve learned so much during that time. It doesn’t matter how long you play, as long as you’re playing with intensity, your coach will see that. “

You can follow Coty M. Davis on Twitter at @CotyDavis_24

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