David Villen Morales
Madrid, 6 Aug. The forward Joel Parra, consecrated this season as the best young player in the Spanish Endesa League, dreams these days of being among those chosen by the coach, Sergio Scariolo, to represent Spain in the next Eurobasket, in which he predicts that they will be a competitive team despite the fact that in recent times some of the most emblematic players of the national team have said goodbye.
“Whether we have the legends or not, in the end we are players from Spain, and we always compete,” assured the 22-year-old Joventut Badalona player, convinced, in an interview with Agencia EFE, in which he recalled that, despite the fact that the selection has lost talent after recent withdrawals, the team always shows its face in major competitions.
Asked about the role of sixth favorite that FIBA gives to Spain in the next Eurobasket, the green and black forward played it down: “It’s just a classification, the court will put us in the place we have to be, hopefully it will be the highest, but we will always go to compete as Spain does and fight to the fullest, with the illusion of every year”.
“There is no pressure, we are going with great enthusiasm, we must go with the greatest possible enthusiasm,” said the Penya youth squad, concentrated these days in Madrid with the national team to prepare for the European tournament that starts on September 1, in which he hopes to be present, which would mean his debut as a full international in a major tournament.
The Barcelonan was excited to be on the final list, although he subjects everything to “what Scariolo decides” and focuses on “enjoying and competing” these days with his teammates. “I have the illusion and the ambition to try to win a position,” admitted the forward.
Regardless of what finally happens to him, he wanted to thank the Italian coach for the opportunity he has been given: “I am very grateful to him, and I am very proud of the opportunity. I come here with the mentality of enjoying myself to the fullest, both within like off the track,” he said.
“I want to take advantage of every minute I can, and learn above all from the most veteran players, such as Rudy (Fernández), (Sergio) Llull, Quino (Colom), Juancho or Willy (Hernangómez)” recounted one of the great promises of Spanish basketball, who considered it an “honor” to share a locker room with players of such quality.
“What is said about ‘the family’ is totally true, from the first day the veterans have welcomed the new ones very well, and they try to do as much as possible so that we are comfortable,” Parra told Efe about their integration and coexistence with the group.
A squad from which the Catalan player extols the mix between the “energy, strength, grit and nerve” that youngsters like him bring, and the “experience” and “tranquility” that veterans transmit.
He also spoke about the good moment that Joventut de Badalona is going through, which, after a great campaign, has once again placed itself this year in the noble zone of Spanish basketball. “The club is growing more and more each year that passes and we want to compete as we have done this year, with the same enthusiasm and ambitions”.
At the Catalan club they are aware that they are coming off a “very good” year, which in their opinion “should not be an excuse to lower the level next season”.
On a more personal level, Parra also took the opportunity to thank “family, friends, teammates, coaches and technical staff of the club” for the award as the best youngster in the ACB, described by him as “a very nice award” that he will remember “with a lot honey”, fruit of that stratospheric season.
Finally, Joel Parra revealed what continues to be his great dream as a professional: “Winning a title would be nice, either with the national team or with the club.” EFE