Hernangomez said that he doesn't consider a return to Europe despite a lack of opportunity in the NBA and wants to prove that he belongs in the league. Sergio Scariolo is the best coach he's ever had, the big man says.

Credit: USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix
Credit USA TODAY Sports - Scanpix

Willy Hernangomez's future is currently in the air. With his guaranteed contract expiring after the 2022-23 NBA season, the New Orleans Pelicans have a team option to exercise if they want the player to remain in the organization.

3-pointers this season

Points made: 10,9
Accuracy: 36,4%
Place in standings: 24
Record max: 21
Record min: 3
Most made 3FGs: C.J. McCollum

After becoming the MVP of EuroBasket 2022, Hernangomez did not receive the same chance to shine in the NBA. The Spanish big man played 38 games for the Pelicans, averaging 12 minutes per game - his lowest number since 2018.

Hernangomez admits that it was difficult.

"The roles were totally different. There was a moment of frustration, of misunderstanding. It was not because of the summer but because I showed every day and during the games that I deserved an opportunity. In the end, they decided on the rotation from the beginning of the season and it was not changed," he said in an interview with Didac Piferrer from Marca.

"If I do everything I can and the situation doesn't change, I have to do something else. That was my mentality to be always prepared for when the opportunity comes," Hernangomez told.

Would he consider going back to Europe, a place where he would certainly have a significant role on a team? Hernangomez is certain that it's currently not the option he'd choose.

"I'm not considering going back to Europe. For years, I've been very comfortable in FIBA basketball, you could see it last summer. It's something that you have in mind in the long term but my motivation and hope is to show that I can dominate in the NBA, that I can play there and be important," he said in another interview with Spanish news agency EFE. "I still have the motivation to go to a winning team and win an NBA title."

Current Virtus Segafredo Bologna's head coach Sergio Scariolo was the one that allowed Hernangomez to blossom in EuroBasket 2022. The player says that there is a special connection between the two.

"We've been talking over some messages and some calls. The relationship we have is much closer than usual between a coach and a player," Hernangomez told EFE. "He's been the coach who has coached me the longest. He's seen me grow, he's scolded me a lot, and it has helped me become a much better player."

"For me, Sergio is the best coach I've had in my career. We have a very personal relationship and I'm looking forward to playing with the national team, so that he can continue coaching me," the big man said.

Scariolo is considered one of the finalists for the Toronto Raptors head coaching position. The two sides have already met before and an additional final interview should be conducted in the near future.

We want to hear from you. Be the first to comment!
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website

Willy Hernangomez

Willy  Hernangomez
Willy  Hernangomez
MIN: 12.37
PTS: 7.08 (62.27%)
REB: 4.86
As: 0.89
ST: 0.46
BL: 0.35
TO: 1.05
GM: 37