Batum on Overseas Gig: ‘I Grew Up’
It’s been seven months since the 6-foot-8 (Nicolas) Batum departed Portland for France after a season in which he averaged a career best 12.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. While the NBA lockout jeopardizes the 2011-12 regular season and Batum’s return to the Rose Garden, he’s undergone a transformation beyond what his 22-years shows.
No longer is Batum the 20-year old shy kid who arrived in Portland in 2008 as the 25th overall selection in the NBA Draft.
He has matured from a boy to a man and into a team leader for Nancy.
“I grew up,” Batum said when asked how he’s changed since last season in Portland, his words reverberating with confidence.
“People have shown me respect — the coaches, the players, the refs. I’ve gone through some great experiences this summer with the national team and now here. When the game is on the line I want the ball. The game is in my hands. That is very good for me.”