Argentinian combo-forward Gabriel Deck, coming off a full season with Real Madrid in Spain and a FIBA World Cup silver medal, has provided Pablo Laso’s squad with endless amounts of energy in this 2019-2020 campaign.
His numbers have grown significantly since last year (7.2 points and 3.2 rebounds) and so has his playing time, but for a player with humble origins in rural Argentina, who first played basketball in his backyard, using a tractor wheel attached to a piece of wood as the rim, the process of improvement is ongoing. His native Colonia Dora could not provide even rudimentary equipment and infrastructure to a prospective professional player. Still, Gabriel Deck made it not only to Europe, but to one of the continent’s top clubs.
It was through San Lorenzo, with whom he won the 2018 FIBA Americas League championship, while also being named the league’s top scorer and Final MVP, that he got in the eye of the reigning Euroleague champs. The now 25-year-old is on his second year in the Spanish capital and as he concedes in this interview with TalkBasket.net, his future lies with Real Madrid, most probably well beyond the expiry date of his present, three-year-deal with the club.
All his reasons are stated below.
Q: What’s your take on this version of the Euroleague?
A: The truth is that it’s a really hard competition because of the toughness required all season long. Obviously, there are many high-level teams and we at Real Madrid aspire to be at the top. That’s what we always want.
Q: You’ve come a long way from Colonia Dora to Madrid. What was included in this trajectory, what did you learn from it and how do you envision the future?
A: I don’t think too far ahead. I just try to enjoy my presence with the club, day in and day out. Looking back, I can say that my career so far has been nice, although it’s still in the beginning. The fact that I manage to accomplish a new goal every year is something that fills me with joy. I’m content, but I hope to continue this way.
Q: Do you believe that you are having a career-best season? If so, how would you explain it?
A: Well, I think that I’m with the best club I could possibly imagine. Things are going well for me here and I can see myself making progress with the team every season. Hence, I hope to be able to reach my maximum with this club at one point because until now I don’t believe that I have achieved that.
Q: Luis Scola was voted as the best Argentinian athlete for 2019. Did he give you any piece of advice on your career?
A: When someone looks at him every day, there’s always something to learn, on and off the court. He’s the player that sets an example for everyone, just by his daily routine. That’s his most admirable feature.
Q: Do you agree with Diego Maradona who said that Ginobili deserves to be called the greatest athlete to ever come from Argentina, given that you used to wear his jersey when you were younger?
A: I’m not that into football talk, but as far as Ginobili is concerned, I can say that he’s one of the greatest athletes of all time in Argentina – and we’ve had quite a few of them. I could talk about him for hours, but the majority of sports fans are aware of what he represents and know very well what he means for us Argentinians.
Q: A couple of years ago, you said that you prefer European ball to the NBA. On which conditions would you leave Europe?
A: Yes, I’ve always maintained that I like European basketball very much and that I used to follow the action in Europe more than in the NBA. It’s the kind of basketball that excites me and makes me want to watch games. Since I’m in the best club I could possibly be, I’m not thinking about anything else.
Q: Madrid’s biggest stars, Sergio Llull and Facundo Campazzo, have signed multi-year deals with the club. How did Real approach you?
A: The fact that I came to Madrid was the result of the buy-out paid by Real (to Deck’s ex-team San Lorenzo de Almagro). Later on, we played a friendly game against them in Europe and the situation worked out for me in the best way possible. My signing with Real Madrid makes me feel gratitude for the club and all the fans.
Q: Which factors can account for the team’s consistency through the years?
A: The club’s stability is the result of the everyday work that has been done in the last years: the core of players that know each other very well and make the whole team function properly. We have great chemistry and I hope that we’ll be able to keep working the same way.