Augustine Rubit is the most efficient player on Brose Bamberg’s roster so far. He averages 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2 assists in the course of three games played thus far in the Basketball Champions League. The 29-year-old forward, who had a terrific break-through Euroleague season last year with the same team, has set the bar higher for the 2018-19 campaign.
TalkBasket.net met with Rubit after his team’s away loss to AEK Athens and discussed a variety of issues: from the differences between the continental competitions to the reasons that made him accept Brose’s offer in 2017 and from Tyrese Rice to Andrea Trinchieri.
Q: Brose Bamberg lost to AEK, but you showed a competitive spirit until the end, despite the absences. What cost you the game?
A: Honestly, we’re a young team that is expected to grow fast, even without a couple of ball-handlers out there. The problem was that we turned the ball over many times and gave AEK too many transition points. It was a close game; we played OK defensively but it’s hard to win when you give 20 points in transition to the opponent.
Q: Are you satisfied with the defensive performance of your team so far?
A: Definitely not! We want to score, but we don’t want the other team to score as well because in a game that goes back and forth you can lose to anyone. We have to pick it up and make more stops from now on.
Q: How was AEK?
A: They capitalized on our mistakes, scored in transition and trapped Tyrese Rice who is one of our best guards and tries to get the whole team involved. It was clear that they wanted other players on our team to make decisions and not him. It worked for the most part. I’d say that their game plan worked, but we have to get better in each game. We focus on the next one.
Q: What’s the goal of the team this year? Does it extend so far as the Final Four?
A: The goal is always to win. For us, a young group of guys, it is to improve from one game to the other. The ultimate goal is to win the championship. Of course, in the Champions League this is not easy because you have to win right away. We know that we can’t lose many more games, so we have to start bouncing back. I don’t know how far the administration of the club expects us to go. We play at the highest level. The BCL has some really good competition and top-tier teams, whom I’ve played against also in the Eurocup.
Q: What’s the level of the BCL compared to the other competitions?
A: The BCL is definitely not the Euroleague, but you have some Euroleague players playing in the BCL. Overall, from the first to the twelfth player it’s not the Euroleague, but it’s as good a competition, for sure. In the Euroleague, everyone is great at something. You have high-level passers and big sizes: 6’11” playing at wing over there. The offense is more structured, while the BCL is more about transition game, one-on-one and individual skill. The Eurocup is a mixture of the two.
Q: You are on your second year of your three-year deal with Brose Bamberg. How does it feel?
A: I had been playing in Germany for some years. With my former team (Ulm) we were the BBL finalists, beaten by Brose. I just loved the way they played and won. I watched them during the 2016-17 season lose a lot of games in the Euroleague, but most of them -something like 16-17 games- were by less than 5 points that they could have easily won. Just the organisation of the team and playing against Euroleague teams made it a no-brainer for me. When I received the offer, I thought that I’d love to learn from those coaches.
Q: Talking about them coaches, you’ve had Andrea Trinchieri at first, then Luca Banchi and now Ainars Bagatskis. What have you picked up from each of them?
A: A lot: how to play the game, read, everything… Andrea was trying to make the game easier for you, while the others gave you another kind of motivation. All of them were pretty good coaches.
Q: However, last season didn’t go as planned. What got Trinchieri fired?
A: There was a lot of chemistry buying in or maybe the style of play was not right for the players he had. Personally, I felt better with Luca Banchi but it’s always hard to see a coach like Andrea put in that position. He won at a high level and, being there, we know he can coach. Just for it to happen that way, it’s always tough.
Q: Are you planning on staying in Germany for the rest of your career, since Brose Bamberg is your third team there?
A: For the moment, I’m here on my second year. I wouldn’t say that I will stay forever, but I really like Germany.
Q: As far as the Euroleague goes, do you see any clear favourites?
A: Last year, I really liked Real Madrid. They won the championship and were a pretty tough team. This year they have the same group of guys. CSKA is also pretty good as always, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahce … But I like Real again because of the combination of guys they have. They can match it up in any different way.