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News » Seattle Supersonics Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30

Seattle Supersonics Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30

Seattle Supersonics Notes, Quotes 2008-06-30
--The Sonics' future in Seattle was in the hands of a federal judge. The trial that pitted the team against the city ended June 27, and U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman said she will post her ruling online at 4 p.m. July 2.

--A native of the Republic of Congo, Sonics draft pick Serge Ibaka appeared with his fellow rookies for the first time on June 27.

But don't get used to seeing Ibaka around the practice facility. The Sonics plan on sending the 18-year-old back to Spain, saving some money by allowing him to continue playing in the professional league there with the hope that Ibaka continues to develop and is one day ready to play in the NBA.

And Ibaka feels the same way.

"Both my family and my whole country are very happy that I'm being drafted," Ibaka said through a Spanish translator. "It's definitely a dream come true, but also it is only the beginning of something. It not the only thing I want to accomplish. It's only the beginning of what I want to become, which is a good NBA player. This is only the first step."

Articulate and well-spoken, Ibaka is an intriguing prospect for Seattle. At 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, he starting playing when he was 7 years old, and both of his parents played basketball. International scouts rave about Ibaka's athleticism, jumping ability and quickness up and down the floor. However, they also say he's unpolished offensively and still needs to develop better court awareness.

The Sonics put Ibaka through a private workout while scouting in Europe earlier this year and must have came away impressed because they used a first-round pick on him. Seattle general manager Sam Presti said there's no timetable on when the team will bring Ibaka back from Europe.

"When you speak to people about Serge, the thing that you learn is this is a young man who has tremendous focus," Presti said. "And he's very focused on improving and getting better. He also has a great deal invested, and he cares greatly about his success and how he represents himself.

"I think you can see that in the kind of improvement that he's made. And when you combine that with that kind of drive with the physical attributes that he brings to the table, we feel like that's a good combination."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "His competitor's have tremendous respect for him. His teammates have tremendous respect for him. That kind of character and defensive mentality is what we're attracted to." -- Seattle general manager Sam Presti on his team's top draft pick, Russell Westbrook.

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: June 30, 2008


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