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Douglas pushing for NBA

Jeff Tully

Ruben Douglas has been trying to make his way to the NBA.

But after graduating from the University of New Mexico in 2003,

the former BellarmineJefferson High basketball standout has yet to

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make it to the big time.

However, the 6-foot-4, 195-pound guard is getting a golden

opportunity to prove he has what it takes to compete at the highest

level. Douglas has made the New York Knicks’ summer-league roster and

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is playing with the team in the Reebok Vegas Summer League.

New York has gone 3-1 in the league and Douglas has seen action in

every game, averaging 4.8 points in 13.5 minutes.

His best game came Saturday in an 80-71 win against the Washington

Wizards when he had seven points (three of four from the field) with

one three-pointer and two rebounds.

Following their final game in Las Vegas today against the Chicago

Bulls, Douglas and the Knicks will move on to the Minnesota Summer

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League at the Target Center, beginning Friday.

Last season, Douglas competed for the Utah Jazz’s summer-league

team, even scoring 20 points in one game. But despite his fine play,

he wasn’t offered a contract with the team.

Douglas, 25 -- a former Leader Boys’ Basketball All-Area Player of

the Year and All-CIF Division IV Player of the Year -- is coming off

a successful season playing in Italy for Climamio Bologna. His solid

play led Climamio to the league finals for the ninth time in the last

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10 years, although the squad managed just one title during that span.

Climamio faced off against Armani Jeans Milan in a best-of-five

series, with game four taking place June 16 in Milan. Climamio held a

2-1 lead in the series.

With seven seconds left in the game and Climamio trailing, 65-64,

Milan’s Dante Calabria missed a three-point attempt. The long rebound

was picked up by Climamio’s Gianluca Basile who passed to Douglas.

Douglas turned and buried a three-pointer from just inside half-court

with one-tenth of a second left on the clock to give his team the

championship, 67-65.

In the win, Douglas led Climamio with 16 points, hitting six of

nine shots from the field and three of five from three-point range.

He also had four rebounds and three assists in game four.

In 11 playoff games, Douglas averaged 13.2 points and five

rebounds.

This season he averaged 13 points and five rebounds a game and

made 52.3% from the field, 33.3% from three-point range and 82.2%

from the free-throw line during the regular season. He also played in

the 2005 Italian League All-Star game.

Douglas is trying to find his way into the NBA after being

overlooked in the 2003 draft. The guard wasn’t selected, despite

averaging 28 points per game -- 32.1 in the Mountain West Conference

-- and being named conference player of the year.

His 28-point average led the nation for NCAA Division I players.

He scored 783 points in 28 games to become one of New Mexico’s

all-time greatest scorers. He played in all 28 games for the Lobos

and had scoring outputs of 43 (twice), 40 and 39 (twice) points. He

scored in double figures in every game and his season low was 12

points. He also had 94 three-pointers.

In just three seasons -- he played his first season under Coach

Lute Olson at Arizona -- he is UNM’s fifth all-time career scorer

with 1,782 points. Including his freshman season at Arizona, he ended

with 1,998 career points.

Along with his success at UNM, Douglas proved himself as one of

the finest high school boys’ basketball athletes in California

history.

While a senior at Bell-Jeff, Douglas led the state in scoring with

a 34.6 average. With 1,073 points, he ended the season with

California’s fifth-best single-season scoring mark, and his 2,578

points ranked him No. 9 on the state career scoring list.


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