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FRA - Gobert grows in stature

Rudy Gobert (FRA)
Rudy Gobert (FRA) - Utah Jazz (NBA) Photo: NBA/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY (FIBA Basketball World Cup) - A year of experience makes a big difference for a player looking to make it in the NBA.

France international Rudy Gobert certainly looks different, and seems to have a more confident manner in both practices and Summer League games with the Utah Jazz now that he has a year in the world's toughest league under his belt.

The 22-year-old has been working hard at adding muscle and improving his overall game.

"It's totally different," Gobert said of this summer.

"I feel way better. My game, my confidence. I feel way better."

As a first-year player from overseas, there were adjustments to make.

As a rookie, the 2.18m big man played in 45 games, averaging 2.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and almost a block in nine minutes a game.

"I think I will be better (in 2014-15) because I play with less pressure," Gobert said.

"I just play. For every player, freedom is always better. I was a little bit under pressure (last season) and I was a rookie so that was even harder."

France coach Vincent Collet has no doubt been keeping tabs on a player that he named in the preliminary squad for the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

At the start of the summer, Gobert had to have his appendix removed so that did not bode well for his participation in Group A games against Serbia, Brazil, Iran, Egypt and the tournament hosts Spain.

But he has bounced back and put in a lot of effort in the gym to improve his physique and overall game.

If he does travel to Spain, he will be an awesome talent for Les Bleus.

New Utah coach Quinn Snyder says he's been impressed by Gobert.

After one of the Jazz’s Summer League games, Snyder said to the Salt Lake City Tribune: "I thought Rudy ran the floor very well.

"I thought he played hard. He's a great passer and he did what we wanted from him on defense.

"If he continues to play this way, he's going to have the chance to earn minutes and be successful this season."

It remains to be seen if Gobert will play at Spain 2014 because there is competition for places in a national team that last year won the EuroBasket.

He also has to make the decision himself if he wants to be a part of the program this summer.

Gobert is unquestionably a big part of France's future.