Pro Insight’s Jason Filippi recently had the opportunity to chat with up-and-coming Spanish combo guard Lucas Langarita while at the adidas Eurocamp in Treviso, Italy. In this interview, Langarita spoke about how basketball runs in his blood, his emotional roller coaster at the 2022 World U17 Championships, his thoughts about following his sister’s footsteps to the NCAA, his future goals, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2005-born prospect Lucas Langarita, from Zaragoza, Spain:
Pro Insight: Lucas, please tell us a little about yourself — when and where did you start to play basketball?
Lucas Langarita: I started to play basketball when I was five years old in the suburbs of Zaragoza and my mother was my first coach.
PI: So, you come from a basketball family — can you talk a bit about your basketball genes?
LL: Yes. My mother was a professional basketball player and she also played for the Spanish National Team at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona. My uncle was also a good professional basketball player who played for 15 years in ACB, mostly with Gran Canaria. And finally, my sister Claudia is playing college basketball at Cal-Berkeley now. My father was not a professional player, but he was a good athlete who would play for fun and loved basketball, too.
PI: We have been following you closely for the past two years and I think that you have improved a lot in that span. What has changed for you in the past year?
LL: More than anything my mentality has changed, but I have also improved a lot from a physical standpoint. I used to be smaller and weaker physically but I have grown a couple centimeters since then and gotten much stronger. I can do things on the court that I simply could not do a couple years ago and I can hold my own now with veteran pro players.
PI: So how tall are you now? Because depending on the source, your height seems to vary?
LL: (laughs) Yes, that is true. I should be 1.96 meters (approximately 6-5), though.
PI: Let's talk about your experience at last summer’s World U17 Championships where you won the Silver medal.
LL: It was an incredible experience. To be able to represent my country while playing in Spain was a very emotional experience. It was truly amazing, the support we got from the fans was incredible. Every game was sold out and there was such a great atmosphere in the arena. It was sad that we lost the finals in a very tough gritty game to the USA but I was still very proud of our accomplishments.
PI: On a positive note, in that event your team made a very emotional comeback in the semifinals against Australia — you played very well and basically led the comeback in the final minutes. I was at the game and remember that you played very aggressively in the fourth quarter and more assertive than usual. What was going through your mind in that moment?
LL: I was just really feeling it in that game. I felt more confident in myself and I could see that my teammates were giving me the ball in the final minutes and the coaches were urging me to shoot it more and something just clicked. It was a great feeling!
PI: This is your first time playing in the adidas Eurocamp. What has been your impression of this event and the competition level?
LL: There are lots of very good players here. Some of them play pro already and it shows. I think that most of them will be very good pro players in the next few years.
PI: Any player in particular who has impressed you more than others at this event?
LL: As I said there are a lot of good players here, but I have been most impressed by the athletic American wing (VJ Edgecombe). He had some incredible plays down the stretch against us on both sides of the court.
PI: You mentioned that your sister is currently playing in the NCAA. Have you considered going the NCAA route, yourself?
LL: I am definitely considering it, but I need to improve my grades and I still have two years of high school before I consider this option. Also, I am a little worried about how my possible pro player status next year may affect my eventual college eligibility. We will have to wait and see.
PI: Did you practice on a regular basis with the Zaragoza pro team this past season?
LL: Yes, this year I practiced regularly with the pro team and not much with the Junior team, although I would still play some games with them whenever possible — mostly the important games like the ANGT or the Spanish U18 Finals.
PI: What was the hardest thing to adapt to at the pro level and how did you have to change your game?
LL: There is definitely a big difference. From a personal standpoint, I was used to having the ball in my hands and being the focal point of the offense but obviously at the pro level that was not the case. So I had to change my mindset and change my shot selection as well as learn how to play better off others.
PI: What kind of role are you expecting to have in the ACB next season?
LL: Nothing is guaranteed. My realistic goal is to be able to be a regular rotation player — maybe only have a small role on the team but nonetheless a real role. Maybe a backup point guard.
PI: How would you describe yourself as a player? Do you see yourself as more of a playmaker, a scorer or a combo guard?
LL: I guess more of a combo guard. I can bring the ball down court as well as play off the ball. I can create for others as well as for myself. Or simply try to help space the floor and just wait for my teammates to kick the ball out to me. But I can adapt. Whatever the team needs. If there is a better playmaker on the team I will simply adjust and play more off the ball.
PI: Is there a specific player that you try to emulate and model your own game after?
LL: Even though we are much different players, I like the way Luka Doncic plays. He handles the ball so well, he can create for others and he can score himself. I love the way he plays the pick-and-roll and I would like to try to become that type of versatile and complete player.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
LL: I will try to stay humble and hopefully I will become a good pro player in ACB and possibly in the Euroleague, too. The NBA may be just a dream now, but it is definitely the ultimate goal for any professional basketball player. I don’t know if I will make it but I will definitely try to make it as far as I can.