He discovered basketball at age 17, came to the ACB at 19 and the NBA at 23. Walter Edy Tavares, 26 years old and 2.21m, shakes up his curriculum with the imposing stride of his foot 54 and the unbeatable presence of his 2,40m wingspan. One year in Real Madrid it was enough for him to hang the most decisive player poster in Europe.
In the eight days of Liga Endesa disputed to date, Tavares leads the percentages of two and the free throws with a service sheet almost impeccable. He has only failed three of his 25 shots to the basket (88% of success) and has scored the 18 free throws attempted. In the Euroleague, their numbers do not detract: 21 of 29 of two, 9 of 13 from 4.60, +58 with him on track, MVP of the month of October and leader in rebounds (7.8 on average) and plugs (2.2). Between his milestones, to have surpassed the 15 of valuation in 10 of the 13 disputed parties. In Day 4 of the League against Joventut, he won 21 credits with a single shot to the basket. The fouls received, the rebounds and the plugs, they rise in statistics almost by inertia.
"It's an evidence, but it's very big," reflects Laso. "He is a player who changes games only with his presence. It generates many spaces, blocks, intimidates … It changes many shots of the rival. It is decisive and there is no other like him in Europe ", develops the Madridista coach. "The rivals make us constantly doubt and rectify," says Pedro Martinez, who trained him in Gran Canaria. Neither Tomic, nor Begic, nor Hettsheimeir, nor Bourousis, nor Mejri, nor Willy Hernangómez, nor Lima, settled in these seven years their forceful bodies in the dizzying style of this Madrid. Tavares ended in a big way with the myth of the maladapted towers.
The rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of the left knee of the Serbian Ognjen Kuzmic, on the night of Thursday, October 19, 2017, and the subsequent injury to the left shoulder of Gustavo Ayón, 16 days later, triggered a butterfly effect that arrived until Ontario (Canada). There was languishing the Cape Verdean giant after two seasons stumbling in the NBA.
"I was clear that in the Development League I was not going to be more than a year. When the Cavaliers cut me I gave myself another chance in the Raptors. I went there to work to earn the opportunity to return to the NBA, but the conditions of the league are very bad ", he explained to EL PAÍS upon his arrival, telling the intrahistory of his signing. "When the Madrid interest arose I decided to end that sacrifice. Since Pablo [Laso] He called me everything was very easy. The way he talked to me and explained everything convinced me. I liked it very much. He had another vision of him from outside. In the matches he looks very intense and serious, but I loved his normality, "he said then.
Tavares was destined to be the star signing of Barça this summer, when Barça freed their team's salary cutting up to Ante Tomic. But Madrid's urgencies to alleviate their plague of casualties accelerated the operation and the pivot decided to wear white after a telephone conversation with Laso, more persuasive than Barca managers, who pushed until the last minute to not lose the player they had sued . With only one training session with his teammates, the center debuted precisely against Barça on November 12, 2017. One year and two days later it is the pillar of the European champion. Sum 83 games, 150 blocks and three titles (Euroleague, League and Super Cup). The vault key of Madrid is located at 2.21 meters high.