A puzzle in the hands of Spain. The team faces this Tuesday (17.15, Four) in the quarterfinals of the Eurobasket against a Finland “that can drive you crazy, very difficult to defend due to their outside players,” warns coach Sergio Scariolo, “and with a world-class star like Markkanen”. The Finnish team is the one that has thrown the most triples in the tournament, 202, and only Antetokounmpo (29) and Doncic (28) add more points per game than the Finnish NBA center. As an antidote, the working symphony of Spain commanded in attack by Willy Hernangómez (Madrid, 28 years old and 2.09m). The center of the Pelicans is the leading scorer (16.3) and rebounder (6.5) of a selection that he shares with his brother Juancho.
Ask. Play with the mother’s surname, Geuer, on the shirt. Who has been more demanding with you, your mother or your father?
Response. Both have instilled in us sacrifice, work, generosity, humility. They had different careers in basketball. My mother, more successful, was European champion with Spain  And it was Olympic. My father was a promise from Madrid who saw the downside of sport, an injury that forced him to quit and start studying to raise a family. They are the most demanding with us.
P. What is the character of each?
R. I am like my mother, stubborn, quite incisive in what I like to do. When I want something, I always go to the end. My brother is like my father, very demanding with himself, a perfectionist.
P. Why is he wearing 14?
R. It has always been thought that it is because of my parents, because they both played with the 14. But it is because of Fernando Alonso. I have been a huge fan of his since I was little. A few weeks ago I went to his museum and met his father. My brother wears 41 because 14 was busy.
P. Family within the Family. How is that?
R. It is an advantage to have your brother in the national team, a pride. He is my right hand, my adviser. We try to help each other. It is something very difficult that we try to enjoy in the minutes that we are on the track and doing things outside together. We are best friends.
P. The Hernangómez after the Gasol. Does that legacy weigh?
R. No, it doesn’t bother us at all. It has been an honor to have shared a dressing room with them, to have learned so much from Pau and Marc, on and off the track. They have taught us a lot about basketball and life. They are still doing it, they are waiting for us. I have been lucky enough to be part of that generation for a few years and now is our time. We are not alike, we are different. We try to transmit those values that they gave us.
P. Do you now enjoy in the role of leader?
R. Yes, I am very happy to have this role now, to have more responsibility in the team, in the dressing room. I feel more important. After the work of these years that sometimes has not been seen so much, now I enjoy minutes and confidence.
P. What has Lorenzo Brown contributed to the selection?
R. Lots of versatility. Aggressiveness, offensive character, defensive hardness, rebound. He is very vertical towards the basket, he assists… And he is one more member of the family. He is a super humble, hard-working, funny person. He has wanted to integrate, he has wanted to be part of this. At no time has he said no to any plan. Nothing to do with a special American. For me he is a Spaniard, he is a super nice person. We love him as one more and he feels very comfortable.
P. Among the quarterfinalist teams, Spain is the one with the most offensive and least defensive rebounds. How is it explained?
R. It means that we miss a lot of shots and that we have to score more. Also that one of our advantages is that we go to the rebound in attack and we have second options. We are not the tallest, we are not the biggest, and we have to help each other among the five that are on the track.
P. Does Scariolo insist a lot on your defense?
R. He insists on many things because he wants me to be the best player I can be. The rebound is what I like the most and this year I have taken a step forward because we have lacked height in the team. I think my best basketball is yet to come.
P. How to stop Markkanen, a 2.13m center with such mobility?
R. He is a very complete player, a super star in this championship. He has to be a team work. Several players will go through it. I think the key is to send it to the right. He is playing as a manager in the pick and roll, very little in the low post although he has height and body. You have to put pressure on him, make him feel uncomfortable and attack him because he is not a great defender. He doesn’t want to make a lot of fouls because he wants to spend a lot of minutes on the court.
P. How much weight and muscle have you gained in the NBA?
R. When I finished my time at Real Madrid I was around 105 kilos. It wasn’t very strong either, normal. Now I’m almost at 120.
P. And how much do you lift in a snatch with the weights?
R. It depends on what time we are in the season or summer. Now I’m not interested in lifting much. I do 90 or 100 kilos in four repetitions, something explosive to have power in the muscles. If I do a repetition, I can have about 120 kilos loaded.
P. Any mania or superstition before playing?
R. A habit more than a mania. Five minutes before the game I like to sit on the bench, have a drink of water and lace up my shoes. I have to feel that everything is in order. Also playing I put my pants folded inside a little. I do it without thinking, for convenience. If the pants are longer, they bother me a bit.
P. While you warm up, what music do you listen to?
R. What motivates me, reggaeton, rap and Spanish pop. Music that I would listen to if I went to dinner or in the car, lively.
P. How many tattoos does he have?
R. I haven’t counted them. They are special to me. Everything I have on my arm has a meaning about a person in my family. I have had them for seven years. And then I have the names of the two Games in which I have participated, Rio and Tokyo. I already said that I don’t want to do more, but if I go to Paris, I’ll add it.
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