Consolidated as a benchmark for Joventut de Badalona, Xabi López-Arostegui received this Tuesday the Endesa Award for the values of the season, an award that goes beyond his performance on the slopes, already excellent this season.
What does this recognition mean?
I see it as an award for the trajectory that started when I was very little and I have gone through many categories. It is ten years and it is a path that many boys and girls can follow. It is a special award.
Cases like those of Ricky Rubio, for example, that impact with 15 years are counted. To what extent has it helped you to go through all those levels as juniors, LEB, to get here?
Spending in El Prat at LEB Oro for two years helped me a lot to give me a reality check. As a junior, everything seemed to be going well until the blow came, the turning point in which you have to decide whether you want to or not. You see that there will be suffering because you will have to work more and it served to see the physical level that was needed. It served for that, the LEB Oro helped me a lot.
How are you physically after overcoming the injury?
The foot is fine. I did not have any discomfort. In the end I have been unemployed for two months because we opted for a more conservative recovery and that requires immobilization, which means then starting the ‘machine’. Now I am looking to have sensations, to have more cardio rhythm … but I am happy because the foot has responded. Now I have one more week to work and help the team.
At the level we were used to before the injury?
I hope so and, if not, I will try to help as much as I can. If it has to be defending and rebounding I will. We are in a moment of competing, of giving everything one has.
Speaking of values, it is also known that he has made financial contributions to the club’s Foundation and to the grassroots teams. How did that come about?
It is not a constant thing, but a punctual one and it arose when I signed my first professional contract, which I did with my father because I had no agent. It was an idea that we matured between my parents and me, and it was a way that the club could continue to build what I enjoyed. If that money could be used so that some boy could come and that his family had the services that I had, perfect. I was very happy to be able to help as they helped me.
He has finished in the Endesa League with a 97% success rate in free throws. It already came from good percentages but not so exceptional. What secrets explain that?
The trust. When you have a good moment of trust, everything flows. Then there is the practice part because I always have the habit of finishing training with free throws and strengthening that habit. The idea is to keep the level high because the base is routine and repetition that is essential for success. Have a clear mechanics …
Is the number of shots you take in training related to the level of accuracy?
Yes. There are no exact proportions but it is about finding a routine that makes you feel good but demands too. That failure does not upset you and you manage to find a routine that makes you be constant is very important.
Then there is Albert Ventura who has been the best in triples.
It’s very difficult with the great shooters in the league. It is not that he uses many shots but still that has a greater value. That reflects confidence, enjoying and feeling more involved this year with the group. It is a reflection of his year, of the moment of form in which he is and I am happy for him.
At a collective level, are the objectives met and what will come of it will be to exceed them?
Playing against Barça is complicated because it is a team made to win titles. We have had a very good year: we have entered the Cup, we have entered the Top 8 .. Maybe we did not do our homework against Monaco but we competed very well against Virtus and now we are in the Endesa League playoffs. We have handled the situation of being in the playoff zone all year, which is not easy. This year there have been a thousand colors in the League and I would rate the year as good or very good, always in relation to the budget. Also due to the growth of the club and the players. Now we have a very good opportunity and if we show our best level we can do very cool things.
He has a contract one more season with Penya. Do you see many more years in the team?
My contractual situation is what it is. Yes, the club has shown interest in him renewing for more years. Right now, with the issue of the injury, everything was in ‘stand by’. I also wanted to focus on the recovery of the foot, because it has been a bit long, and it was something important for my future. I also wanted to let a little time pass and see how the year ended. I have always said that I am very happy in Badalona, in La Penya, and I am very grateful to them. I want to strengthen my year, finish it well and then make a calm decision that is the best for my future.