PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -More than 100 fans welcomed Spanish guard Rudy Fernandez to the Portland Trail Blazers upon his arrival to the city with chants of ``Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!''
``It was a good surprise,'' Fernandez said. ``When I arrived, I say, 'OK, let's go practice now. Let's go.'''
The 6-foot-6 Olympian arrived at Portland International Airport on Monday and was whisked to the Rose Garden, where the Blazers held a news conference to introduce him.
``He's a team player. He's a great kid,'' general manager Kevin Pritchard said. ``I think he'll raise the level of competition for everyone.''
Fernandez played for Spain in Beijing, scoring 22 points in the gold medal game against the United States. The U.S. team won, 118-107.
Portland coach Nate McMillan was an assistant coach for the U.S. team. He and some of the other coaches went to watch Spain during the competition, with Kobe Bryant tagging along.
McMillan recounted how Bryant said to him: ``He's your kid, huh? He's pretty good.''
a place to live. The Blazers would work on getting him a tutor to help him with his English.
The Trail Blazers open training camp Sept. 30 at the team's practice facility in Tualatin, Ore. The team opens preseason play against Sacramento on Oct. 7 at the Rose Garden Arena.
McMillan said the team would also give Fernandez time to catch up on the NBA style of play.
``But once he does, he's going to be a special player,'' McMillan said.
Fernandez has played the past seven seasons for DKV Joventut Badalona of the Spanish ACB League. Last season he averaged 21.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 2.2 steals for the team, which won both the ULEB Cup and the Copa del Rey.
Portland acquired Fernandez in a trade with Phoenix during the 2007 NBA draft.
``My dream is to play against the best players in the world and Portland gave me that opportunity,'' he said.
Fernandez is good friends with Blazers guard Sergio Rodriguez, who is also from Spain.

Top NBA Public Bets

#1 802 Toronto Raptors  67%
#2 803 Miami Heat  66%
#3 810 Denver Nuggets  56%
#4 812 Utah Jazz  56%
#5 806 Detroit Pistons  50%

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pacers vs. Trail Blazers Pick Are the host Portland Trail Blazers going to cover the spread when they entertain the Indiana Pacers...
Thumbnail Timberwolves vs. Rockets Pick Will the Minnesota Timberwolves reward bettors tonight as an underdog at the Houston Rockets? Tip-off is at...
Thumbnail Magic vs. Cavaliers Pick Is the total set high enough tonight when the Orlando Magic take on the host Cleveland...
Thumbnail 76ers vs. Celtics Pick Can the Philadelphia 76ers pull off the upset tonight when they play at the Boston Celtics? Game time...
Thumbnail Nuggets vs. Clippers Prediction Will the L.A. Clippers hand the Denver Nuggets another ATS loss when the two teams meet at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday night?

NBA Team Pages