Tokyo, a couple of days in Madrid, Toronto, Milwaukee … Jorge Garbajosa He travels almost more now as president of the Spanish Basketball Federation than in his time as a player. The head of the FEB spoke with LA RAZÓN about his visit to several of the Spanish NBA players who will be at the next World Cup in China. His particular tour started in what was his home, in Toronto. "It was exciting, beautiful and we were lucky because it was not cold, just one or two degrees below zero. I met people from the lifelong franchise like physios, the utillero, the '' team manager '' … after more than ten years. And we met with leaders of the Raptors, the Canadian Federation … It has been a very profitable trip ».
In Toronto there is a wide representation of «Spaniards»: the coach, Scariolo, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka. «I have met with a very excited Scarioloor. Actually it was no surprise because as we talked almost daily he knew that he is very involved with the Raptors and in the franchise they are delighted with his enormous capacity for work. The communication with the coach has always been very fluid and the reunion has confirmed the good feelings he has given me throughout the season, "says Garbajosa.
«Marc is a very intelligent guy and his adaptation to the city has been immediate. Also a franchise like Toronto, and I say this from my own experience, it makes things very easy in this sense. It is not difficult to get involved in the city and the team. Marc has a very big emotional intelligence and since he is very altruistic he has fallen very well in the Raptors ", assures the president of a franchise that he defended eleven years ago. "In Memphis he had lost almost all the competitive hope and that has been recovered with his arrival in Toronto. The team is very well armed and they will fight for everything in the safe East, "says Garbajosa. The other "Spanish" of the Canadian franchise is Serge Ibaka. At first will not go to the World Cup in China, since Mirotic will do it, but … "Serge is not the most talkative guy in the world, but with us he has always felt very close, very simple and very sincere. I appreciate that attitude because the decision of his presence or not is not simple, "says Garbajosa.
The most special reunion was with Pau in Milwaukee. «With him he is always special, different. We shared food at the Bucks' facilities and had a very nice chat because talking to Pau always brings many things. It is not being an easy year for him, but he has it very assumed. He is facing it with coldness in the sense that if things come like this there is no other … It's time to know how to take it and be patient. It is not easy for someone like him to live the current situation. But he is very clear that he does not care if he played a minute or played a thousand because his commitment to the national team is absolute. " Pau is now injured in the left ankle and its presence in the playoffs is not guaranteed.
«Niko is happy. He is very comfortable in the Bucks and more with the arrival of Pau, although he has had two or three things that have not let him catch the right rhythm of games. He feels comfortable because he knows that he is on a long-distance team this season and those that come. And it's a new situation for him, he had not lived before in Chicago or in the Pelicans, "he says of Mirotic.
"With Willy I also agreed. He is having very good minutes coming off the bench and the two brothers are living a good season, although they would like to have more minutes. Both are very involved in the dynamics of the selection and know that they will be now and in the future very important players. Juancho seems to have options to go far this year in the West with the Nuggets, "he says. "I could not see Ricky in person, but I talked to everyone and they are very involved in their teams and ready this summer to go with the national team," he concludes.
A LIST WITH TEN FIXED
In the list that Scariolo manages for the World Cup there are ten players who seem fixed if the injuries do not spoil it. They would be Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez, Llull, Rudy, Claver, Juancho Hernangómez, Mirotic, Pau, Marc and Willy Hernangómez. For the two remaining positions, several options are handled. One of them would be for one of the players that has competed in the FIBA windows. The strongest candidate is Quino Colom, although this meant attending the tournament with four bases. The other contenders of the new international group are Jaime Fernández, Darío Brizuela and Javier Beirán. The other place would be between Pau Ribas and Alex Abrines. The Barça player is the strongest option due to the personal problems of the former forward of the Thunder.