Sunday, June 4, 2023

Darío Brizuela puts down roots in Malaga

Unicaja Basketball has been giving its fans very good news for several months. In sports and also in what is not strictly the ball and the basket. But that of this Monday, that of renewing Darío Brizuela for the next three seasons is, surely, one of the greatest joys that the “green tide” has taken in recent times.

For several days it was an open secret that Unicaja and the “Basque mamba” had closed an agreement for 3 more years, until June 2026. The only thing missing was the ideal moment to announce it. And that day was this Monday after the match against Monbus Obradoiro and before the clash this Thursday in Lugo against Breogán.

Brizuela’s renewal is very “special” because due to its quota status and its spectacular season it had attracted the attention of several Euroleague clubs. The truth is that this coming summer would have been one of the “sweets” on the market, being released from the commitment he signed with Unicaja in December 2019 for three and a half seasons, until June 30. A situation that will no longer occur after this renewal agreement between the club and the player.

Brizuela knows that he could have earned more money at another club and also that he could have played in the next Euroleague. But the Basque has prioritized his well-being and that of his family to continue in Malagathe city where his son was born and where he is willing to put down roots with this new multi-year contract.

Brizuela’s life and role in the team have changed substantially in just seven or eight months. At the end of last season, with yet another year on his contract (this 2022/2023 season), the future of the international guard in Malaga was not at all clear. Juanma Rodríguez, sports director, met with him just after the season ended and explained that the squad was going to radically change their faces, that a couple of players were going to be signed in his position and that his leading role in recent years would become that of one more player in the rotation this course. Brizuela was not scared and accepted the challenge of going from being the leading scorer of the 21/22 team to being just one more in the perimeter game at Unicaja 22/23.

The club signed the weeks following Nihad Djedovic, Tyler Kalinoski and Tyson Carter, players all with the possibility of playing in the same position as Dario. The Basque attended from a distance, concentrated with the Spanish team of Sergio Scariolo, to all those movements that the club made during the summer.

Brizuela returned to Malaga in September, after being one of the architects of the team’s triumph in the European Championship, with the continental gold medal around his neck and just in time to start the season, without having worked with his new teammates. in the long preparation that Ibon Navarro devised to start his new project.

new role

Brizuela assumed his new role masterfully. He stopped being the “can opener” player of other seasons, to go on to do many more things, taking a step forward in vision of the game and in defense, without losing his fantastic wrist that gave the team so many points in previous seasons.

The Basque escort is a fundamental piece in the gear of Ibon Navarro this course. He has played 41 games, counting all competitions, in which his averages are 11.2 points, 2 assists and a PIR of 9.3.

Regarding Brizuela’s total numbers in these 4 seasons in Malaga, the shooting guard has played 160 games with an average score of 12.73. This score places him as Unicaja’s best scorer since Marcus Haislip, who finished his journey at Carpena with an average of 13.81 points in 102 games.

Perry, Kalinoski, Djedovic, Ejim, Kravish… and now Dario Brizuela. Unicaja continues to renew players with the aim of maintaining the core of a squad that has once again made the green and purple team a champion.


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