Willy Hernangómez y Quino Colom

“Playing In A Team Makes You Stronger”

09/02/2019 · By Fruela Zubizarreta

Twelve names on a list determined to make history. The outlook of the Spanish Basketball Team for the 2019 World Cup is very promising. We had a chat with two of the team’s players –an ACB player and an NBA player— speaking on behalf of the whole team now in China. As they say, there is no greater pleasure than playing in a team to give the word companionship meaning every day. Here are Quino Colom from Valencia Basket and Willy Hernangómez from the Charlotte Hornets. Go for it!

We meet Quino Colom (Andorra la Vella, 1988) and Willy Hernangómez (Madrid, 1994) at Madrid’s Pabellón Triángulo de Oro, during the last training session before the warm-up tour leading to the 2019 Basketball World Cup in China. Two powerful sensations float in the air— joy and optimism. Let’s shoot the hop with questions.

What are your expectations for China 2019?

Quino Colom: I’m really looking forward to it and I’m very excited to be in the final roster, to be among the chosen 12 to go to China, and then of course to enjoy the journey, to be there.
Willy Hernangómez: We all know it’s going to be very hard to get to this point, that’s why we’re so motivated and excited. We’ll fight every day to win the title.

Where were you when the 2006 World Cup final was being played?

Quino Colom: I was 16 or 17 years old. I watched it with my parents and my brother. We’re all devoted basketball supporters. We suffered watching it but also enjoyed it a lot.  
Willy Hernangómez: I perfectly recall we were on vacation, camping, and that we were all watching a small TV set we’d carried with us. My brother (Juancho Hernangómez, also a player in the national team) weren’t quite aware of the situation, of the greatness it represented, but watching the World Cup with the family was compulsory, especially with my parents, both former basketball players.

Are you a “millennial” team?

Quino Colom: I don’t like to say this but we’re quite hooked to our smartphones. I’m not among the hardcore users, but many love Instagram, Twitter and so on, and use them all the time, they post pictures every day.
Willy Hernangómez: I wouldn’t say so. I think half the Spanish team has been lucky enough to share the locker room for many years with the 80's generation. We still play the ‘pocha’ (a betting card game), which it’s part of the team's identity—we play in our spare time, during trips, at hotels, before matches. Obviously, with so many TV series and social networks available, we spend time on those platforms, but in the end the ‘pocha’ is our symbol.

What is the best and the worst of your training periods?

Quino Colom: The best is, without a doubt, the great time we have together, we enjoy a lot being here every day. We call ourselves family because of a reason. As a team, we’ve felt very comfortable together from the start.
Willy Hernangómez: The best are the fun times we spend together: training time, dinner time, meals at the hotel, hanging out at the swimming pool… There’s a lot of time in between training camps so I love the idea of spending two months together. The worst is not being able to see your family, especially for players who play abroad.

What is your greatest talent, the best you can contribute with to the team?

Quino Colom: With this team I’d say it’s creating an advantage for all team players, though most of them don’t need it. My pick and roll is best I can do and contribute with.
Willy Hernangómez: My heart and my nerve. The energy I put into it, the strength of the team, trying to block shots, to bounce, to send positive energy to all my teammates, but specially strength.

What would you have done if you hadn’t become a basketball player?

Quino Colom: I used to play tennis, I liked it a lot. That was my other option. The thing is, basketball, being a team sport, is much more enjoyable, much more beautiful. To me it’s really wonderful because playing in a team makes you stronger.
Willy Hernangómez: I started a degree in Teaching, I love children. I haven’t been able to continue and finish it, but I’m satisfied with the children campus I’m running with my brother. But yes, I would definitely have been a teacher.

Who’s your idol?

Quino Colom: I’d say my father is, he’s the mirror I’ve always looked myself in. As for players, I’ve always been a fan of Sarunas Jasikevičius and Steve Nash. They were both point guards with physiques that weren’t exactly right for that position but who ended up being the best because they controlled everything and could do a little bit of everything.
Willy Hernangómez: Pau Gasol. I’ve had the chance to have him very close to me and to build a friendship that it’s almost like family. Pau is a model to me and I hope I can continue learning from him.

How would you celebrate winning the World Cup?

Quino Colom: If we won, I would have to wait for my holidays because I play the SuperCup with Valencia Basket Club, my club. Then I would go on a super vacation with my wife and daughter.
Willy Hernangómez: If we win, I’d like to celebrate it with my brother and with my family because we spend the whole year apart and we miss them.