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Luca Vildoza: 'Until I see the monster that is the NBA, I'm not going to fall; I haven't slept for two weeks'


The Argentine, who has just signed with the New York Knicks, assures that he clicked and feels ready for the best league in the world.

Mauricio Codocea

05/07/2021 19:35

  • Clarí

  • sports

Updated 05/07/2021 19:35

One cold afternoon in 2019, when not only did he not imagine himself in the NBA but he was barely

grateful to life

for being in a preselection for the Basketball World Cup in China after battling with numerous injuries that had insisted on cutting off his possibilities, Luca Vildoza exuded maturity at 23 years of age.

"I don't see myself prepared today. I think a good player is going to be made to the NBA," he acknowledged at the

Dow Center

in Bahía Blanca, before Clarín.

Just a few hours had passed since Luis Scola had told him and the rest of the players that they could dream of being semifinalists in the world.

Less than two years later, that boy is the latest reinforcement of the New York Knicks, one of the most iconic franchises in the best basketball league in the world.

"It's a dream"

, he will repeat almost automatically after each of his answers in a new interview with this medium, this time as an NBA player.

Everything is too recent.

So much so that there are things that Luca is not even certain about.


I don't even know when I travel

to the United States. I suppose I'll go to a hotel because I have to do the quarantine and then I don't know if to an apartment or something, because I'm going to be a month and a half, at most. But I still have no idea. "He laughs.

Of course, after the end of the season and the playoffs, it will be time to face the preparation for the Olympic Games in Tokyo, so he will be in the US almost in passing for the next few weeks.

But for that there will be time.

"Nice, New York. From Vitoria to New York," Vildoza reflects aloud about his near future. "

I can't complain

about the places that have touched me. Mar del Plata and everyone in Argentina knows what it is. Vitoria It's very quiet, you live very well, and now I'm going to a city of chaos, but one of the best in the world. I'll have to get used to it. "

-In that interview you said that it was difficult for you to "believe it" a little about being the headline and important man of Baskonia.

I imagine that now, again, you must not fall.


Once I find out who I was in Baskonia, I go the other way (laughs).

But no, actually until I'm there and I see the monster that awaits as an organization and as a city, I'm not going to realize where I am.

Hearing my parents, my friends say that I'm going to the NBA and everyone ...

I don't sleep.

I haven't slept for two weeks.

Between the exit contract, that of the Knicks, the NBA ... I have to sign things that take a long time and I haven't really slept for two weeks.

- Has the question of being able to get to the NBA come from a long time or did it happen very soon?

-No, it was all very fast.

I knew there was a rumor that started two months ago, but no more than that.

The contract issue came two weeks ago.

It was all very suddenly, but it better be that way so as not to have so much time to think.

See if I fall behind and I don't want to leave my house!

 It better be like that.

I am very happy.

-How was the specific moment where your representative told you "everything is ok to sign with the Knicks"?

-Incredible, I couldn't believe it,

I thought he was screwing me.

Claudio (Villanueva, his agent) is always cautious with these things, he does not like to tell me anything until there is a certain agreement, but we already knew that the opportunity was there, that Baskonia needed the money because he was not right with the issue of not having spectators, the issue of Alavés (N. de R .: football club that is part of the same society) that perhaps is not having a very regular season ... So we knew it was good for the club. In the end they accepted, we did a procedure that takes time and only yesterday (Thursday) was everything confirmed. It was two weeks of pure papers, rumors and not saying anything. Only now can I give a note saying that I am a Knicks player. It is a dream.

-You also said in 2019 that you were not ready for the NBA, that you were missing.

What changed in you, how did you develop to feel ready today and take the leap?

-This season was key, both physically and basketball.

And psychologically.

I started out being one of the key pieces of the team, although in the end I ended up with several injuries that didn't allow me to be 100%.

But I felt very important, I had very good games.

And this season

I had that click of saying "

shit, I can take one more step


I don't want to stagnate knowing that I'm comfortable, that the city loves me, that I have my home and a coach who loves me."

-In the process that led you to feel this way, were there specific moments that led you to that? For example, Campazzo said that what he did in the World Cup helped him convince himself that he was for the NBA.

-Well, I'm not there so much;

Facu yes, undoubtedly.

I felt that way when they gave me the award last year (N. de R .: Most Valuable Player of the final of the ACB League in Spain) and we were champions.

From that moment I think I

have an image of myself a little higher than I had, knowing that I am always quite self-critical

and I throw myself down.

This year I felt like an important player, because in the end when I was not there, the team had certain problems.

I had an average of almost 30 minutes and great games.

The Baskonia who always supported me unconditionally against injuries or games in which I was not well, but today I feel ... Well, in

the end I am an NBA player.

It is strange to say it, a little conceited.

It is something dreamed of.

What is coming, what is coming ... A First Class NBA

In recent years, the New York Knicks were the

meat of criticism, memes and charges

for a large part of the NBA fans.

Bad decisions, lousy hires and a future that continually positioned them as the laughing stock of the league.

However, this season everything changed.

From the hand of DT

Tom Thibodeau they

built a serious and competitive team that earned the respect of all and today is in a clear position of qualifying for the playoffs.

The hiring of Vildoza is also seen as

a clever move: they

had salary space and in the squad to add it and thus they beat many interested in the Argentine who were waiting for free agency to offer him a link.

The former man from

Quilmes de

Mar del Plata reaches the franchise for the remainder of this season and an option for three more years.

He will be, in a way, on the test from here to the beginning of the next season, something similar to what happens to Gabriel Deck in Oklahoma City Thunder.

"Yesterday I had the call with the people of the team to confirm it, they welcomed me and

I can't wait to be there

greeting the teammates, the coach and see how everything is in an NBA stadium," Vildoza is excited.

Derrick Rose, former NBA MVP and Vildoza idol when the Argentine was a boy.

Now they will be companions.

Photo AP Photo / David Zalubowski

- There are those who say that you are not going to play this season, others that yes, did you speak with them about the plans they have for you?

-In principle to train, travel with the squad, join the team little by little, but knowing that I am going at a time that is not so easy to debut.

The playoffs are coming and if I get there and I'm doing well maybe I can take a step and play.

But it is very difficult, I move from Europe to the NBA.

it's a totally different rhythm, different players,

you play something else

, more to the maelstrom, so I'll have to get used to it first.

I will be with the team

and if at some point I have to play for a little while, even for 10 seconds, I will be very happy.

-What things that exceed the game do you dream of living in the NBA.

-Anything that has to do with the stadium, knowing the shows there are.

Hearing the name in the presentation, having the shirt, the official website uploading photos is already incredible.

The Knicks started following me yesterday

and I still couldn't believe it.

-Which player would you like to have in front of you?

-To the best.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry,

Derrick Rose himself


Playing with the best in the world makes you totally excited to see how far your ceiling can go.

To each player, in short, because in all teams there is a star.

-Who are you thinking of right now?

People who have helped you on your way, those of whom not much is known.

-Well, my family, but I put it aside because it is known.

My friends

from Argentina, whom I wanted to see after two years and with whom I had talked to go because I really missed them, and now all this happened and I cannot go another year;

I carry them inside and I know they are always there.

Coaches from the lower teams

, who all left their mark, and I thank

the people of Quilmes

, who were the ones who motivated me, helped me grow as a professional and take the step to Europe.

The own legacy and the Olympic Games.

Luca Vildoza in the quarterfinal match of the 2019 World Cup, against Serbia.

Photo AP Photo / Ng Han Guan

-Are you aware that you, Campazzo and Deck are leading the way for many boys, just as Scola, Ginobili or Nocioni did with you?

They are the ones who today show that reaching the NBA is possible.

- That it

is possible

… Yes. At the moment I do not feel like that, although I have been several years playing as a professional I feel young.

I think Facu is the one who is showing that path, followed by


, who comes from Colonia Dora, a very small place and showing the world that he can play in the NBA.



is the one who marks the path

of this generation.

-How strong is this for you as an accolade for the Olympics.

-Very good.

Maybe I don't have the rhythm of the game that I could have had here in Baskonia but there is much more time to work individually, to face players of that quality in practice, so I am very happy because I know that

I will reach the Games of The best way.

-Do you dream of a medal in Tokyo?

- It dreams, yes, of course, as always.

As we dream in the World Cup.

But hey, we have a fairly important, tough group, and we have to take the first step.

We have to get together again, see how the chemistry goes again, how we face the tournament and always knowing that we are going to try to leave the National Team as high as possible.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2021-05-09

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