At last, it was announced on Tuesday that after a summer-long wait, Ádám Hanga has just been signed to Barcelona. Index.hu reports that thus the best Hungarian basketball player is now part of a top team.
Finally, Barcelona managed to sign Ádám Hanga, for whom an offer has already been made in the middle of this summer at Saski Baskonia. However, at that occasion, Hanga’s team decided to keep the Hungarian basketball player. Despite this, Barcelona did not give up and following a long negotiation managed to get him to switch teams. At the beginning of the summer, it seemed as though Hanga would get into San Antonio Spurs, this way Hungary would have another player in the NBA.
At the briefing on Tuesday, Hanga’s manager said that this is the signing of the year in the Spanish basketball championship. Barcelona worked six weeks on signing Hanga, which is telling of how talented the Hungarian player is: it is very rare for such a successful club to spend so much time on a Hungarian sportsman.
Hanga spent some time in the US in July, and that trip made it clear that he could not sign to the Spurs. The next goal was to be able to stay in Spain and to be signed to the Barcelona.
San Antonio Spurs drafted Hanga, now 28, first in 2011, when he was still playing for Albacomp, Székesfehérvár. It was obvious that he wasn’t ready for the NBA, but he stepped up his career and was signed to a smaller team in Spain, to Manresa, in 2011.
He picked up the pace quickly, and even though he wasn’t a base member of the team right at the beginning, his performance was outstanding in his first matches. The improvement of his defence skills has begun then, and later it turned out that he is able to play on other posts too: he’s a good point guard, defenseman and scorer. Hanga was able to get used to a more aggressive style in this team. He needed only one year to become good enough for the Spanish league and to become a more and more important member of his team.
He also had to learn that he is not expected primarily to score, but rather to block the opponent’s game. Defence is not the most spectacular part of basketball, yet Hanga proved that he’s a good entertainer with his alley-oops and rushes. On many occasions, his moves were considered to be the most beautiful in the championship.
The Spurs were keeping a close eye on Hanga, who convinced the club leaders that he is worth their time with his basketball skills and personality. This got him to several Spurs summer camps, where his skills were always improved. A strong expectation was from him to gain more muscle.
At the end of the 2012/13 championship, Manresa dropped out, which further pressed Hanga to continue elsewhere. His next team became the Euroleague Laboral Kutxa, but his summer knee operation and the recovery process forced him to miss out on several months, leaving him in a difficult situation from which he had to build himself up again. However, when winter came, he was back in the game again, facing even tougher opponents in the Euroleague.
During the next season, he was ‘lent’ to Avellino by Laboral, so he played in the Italian Championship. Here, he was a defence specialist, but he was able to enjoy a freer game. All this time, he was building his reputation. In the spring of 2015, he played again in Spain, but he gave his best in the next season. He was able to rank higher in the Euroleague and during the championship as well, in the latter becoming the best defence player. Prior to the next season, he played well in a successful Europe Championship qualifying round, thus he’s participating in a world event with Hungary again after 18 years.
Hanga proved himself in Saski Baskonia (previously named: Laboral), becoming captain and gaining popularity in Spanish media. He even became the best defenseman of the Euroleague and was voted into the first five players of the Spanish championship at the end of the year. No wonder that one of the best Spanish basketball teams wanted to get hold of him.
The Barcelona was an 18-times champion, 23-times cup winner and 2-times Euroleague winner. Hanga is going to have an important position in the team, the fact that the Barcelona paid 400 thousand euros for him further accentuates that. Regarding his salary, the Hungarian player will get 7,5 million EUR for three years.
He is deserving of this sum, however. His average was 11.9 points, 4 rerounds, and 2.4 assists last year in the Spanish championship. With these scores, he tops all of the Barcelona scorers and small forwards.
Ironically, Barcelona’s and Hanga’s first match in the Spanish league will be against Baskonia.