Rodrigue Beaubois Interview
By Aran Smith
Rodrigue Beaubois, (pronounced Boo-Bwah) a potential first rounder, is one of the the top point guard prospects in Europe today. Like a number of the top French players, Rodrigue is from (French Caribbean island) Guadeloupe. His manager Raoul Ramdine discovered him at 17 after hearing about him from some coaches in Guadeloupe. Ramdine had played for the same youth team as Beaubois. After 5 minutes of watching him practice, it was obvious the talent level was there and to Rod's amazement told him he could play professionally. Ramdine quickly got on the phone to put the word out, speaking with Beaubois' current Cholet team who said they weren't going to send someone to see a 6-2, 17 year old that was still in Guadeloupe. If he was so talented, why had he not been discovered yet, they wondered. On a trip to see a big kid in Martinique (an island 20 minutes from Guadeloupe) they made a stop to set up a special practice to see Rodrigue. Ramdine quickly got a call in which they said "Ok, we have a contract ready to be signed". Beaubois now plays professionally for Cholet in France and will turn 20 in February. Before Cholet offered him a professional contract, there was one US college that showed interest in him, Northeastern. NBADraft.net caught up with Rodrigue to discuss his basketball past, present and future.
[img_assist|nid=3563|title=Rodrigue Beaubois|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=400|height=488]Aran Smith: How did you get interested in playing basketball?
Rodrigue Beaubois: I was in Guadalupe, and I wanted to get involved in sports. And the number one sport there is soccer, and because a lot of the French National Futbol players come from the islands I was about to join the soccer team because I was good and already playing for fun. I was 7 and just a few days before I joined a team, I saw an NBA game and decided that's what I wanted to do. And it was a coincidence that I had a neighbor that was a coach for the youth team, and I quickly improved to being one of the best players on the team. So I decided to stick with basketball.
Aran Smith: You went to Mickael Pietrus' basketball camp in Guadeloupe during the summer. Talk a little about that experience.
Rodrigue Beaubois: That was a good experience for me. I discovered something new working with American coaching in terms of intensity and how they relate to players. It's different from France so I enjoyed that experience. And some of the best players of the camp get to play along side guys like Mickael Pietrus in an all star setting.
Aran Smith: You participated in the 2007 Reebok Eurocamp for a day and a half before getting injured last June. What was that experience like practicing and playing in front of NBA scouts?
Rodrigue Beaubois: It was definitely a great experience to be a part of that camp. It was huge because it was very competitive, being able to play against some of the top players in Europe. I really like the interaction with the American coaches. I got the feeling that they both liked my game and understood my game. Coach Bill Bayno of the Blazers helped me a lot. Even though I was hurt, I tried to use the time well talking to scouts and coaches about how to improve my game. And it didn't hurt to get some free gear! I see the basketball community there as a big family and it was great to meet and get to know players from all over Europe, Portuguese, Eastern Europe and share experiences, it was really great. And I enjoyed the competition as everyone there was competing hard to get noticed.
Aran Smith: Will you participate in that event again in 2008?
Rodrigue Beaubois: Definitely yes, that's something I want to do.
[img_assist|nid=3564|title=Rodrigue Beaubois (right) with Ali Traore|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=450|height=338]Aran Smith: Did you get any advice from scouts on some aspects of your game to work on?
Aran Smith: What do you consider the area of your game that needs the most work?
Rodrigue Beaubois: I need to work on every part of my game. Once again, I need to work on my body. Although it's not a big concern for me because I'm only 19 and I know I will get stronger. I spend a lot of time working on my shooting, everyday before practice. Being a point guard I have always considered it my responsibility to be a leader but now playing with the seniors, it's more difficult to impose my leadership at such a young age so I have to be more vocal and show more authority, and so that's something I need to be better at.
Aran Smith: Is playing in the NBA something that you dream about, or would playing your entire career in Europe be just as satisfying?
Rodrigue Beaubois: Playing in the NBA is not a dream, it's a goal. As far as NBA or Europe, I just want to be the best player that I can be; and I feel that if I'm the best player that I can be, it will allow me to play in the best league in the world. But I know that it takes a lot of work. I'm not dreaming about the NBA everyday. I realize that I have potential, but my potential only means something if it turns into reality. And for that, it's just about working.
Aran Smith: Do you aspire to enter the 2008 draft?
Rodrigue Beaubois: That is definitely something that I would like to do.
Aran Smith: What will let you know you're ready to enter and stay in the draft?
Rodrigue Beaubois: It's a combination of different things. I have to feel that I am mentality and physically ready, and basically that my confidence level is ready for the NBA. Because I don't just want to go to the NBA, I want to go and be an important part of a team. Wherever I go, I want to know that a team needs me to win games every night. Because I know that some European players dream about the NBA and make a quick trip there, but I want to go to the NBA and make a name for myself, and last. So these are the factors that I will weigh my decision on.
Aran Smith: How is your current situation playing for Cholet helping you to develop into an NBA player?
Rodrigue Beaubois: Right now I'm in Cholet. I'm in a pro team, so my job is not to dream about the NBA. My job is to be the best player that I can be and help Cholet win games. And if I do that, that will help me get into the NBA. Right now, I know that my coach likes my game and has a lot of confidence in me; but he also wants to protect me so he decided to monitor my minutes at the beginning of the season, and then when he saw me playing better in practices he begun to give me more playing time. And every time the coach has called my name, I've performed at a pretty good level. So now, I don't see myself as a youngster on the team. I know that I can really contribute to the team.
Aran Smith: How has your season gone so far?
Rodrigue Beaubois: At the beginning I wasn't playing very much but after meeting with the coaches I knew that I would play more and more. I had a small injury to my finger but I was able to use the time well working on coming back even stronger.
Aran Smith: Has Tony Parker's success in the NBA given confidence to French point guards to make it in the NBA?
Rodrigue Beaubois: Tony showed American people and the NBA that an international point guard could dominate in the NBA. But I don't necessarily think it will help me. They won't draft me because of Tony Parker. I have to do my homework and be the best player that I can be and that will get me to the NBA.
Aran Smith: Who is your favorite player or someone in the NBA that you try to pattern your game after?
Rodrigue Beaubois: Obviously I have a special appreciation for point guards and you have to talk about Steve Nash and the next generation of point guards Deron Williams and Chris Paul. Because of their ability to do many things both score and run the team at the same time; which is very difficult. I study a lot of player's games but I don't copy any player's game; I try to be the best Rodrigue Beaubois that I can be.
*Special thanks to Raoul Ramdine for translating the interview. Ramdine also works as Mickael Pietrus manager.