Aleix Font-Rodriguez is on the cusp of becoming one of Spain’s next basketball stars, just a decade after he plied his trade in Ireland.
The Barcelonan has begun a new chapter in his young career by cementing his place in Barcelona’s first team in the Spanish ACB league. At just twenty years of age, Font has attracted attention with staggering performances at the recent FIBA U20 European Championships. After years of standout performances at underage level, the former European bronze medallist posted remarkable statistics at the U20 championship including hitting 50 percent of his 44 ‘three pointer’ attempts.
At six foot and four inches, he began with Barcelona’s B team before making his senior debut at just eighteen years-of-age in the Copa del Rey. It was at this point where basketball became a priority. “It was three years ago more or less, when I was given the option to play professionally in the second division with the Barça B team. Nevertheless I’m still studying nowadays, so basketball became the first option but I didn’t stop studying,” said Font.
His father’s work commitments brought Font to south Dublin between 2008 and 2010, where he continued his development as a player with Templeogue Basketball. Despite the Irish basketball scene being minuscule in comparison to that of Spain, the former Terenure student believes that his experience was crucial to him developing as a player.
“In Templeogue I played with a team filled with guys that were bigger than me. I was two years younger than them, and they were obviously taller and more built. In Spain, I was playing as a power forward and I got here and I had to start playing as a point guard due to my height. I acquired new abilities that I hadn’t worked on before and I had a great coach who really pushed me to improve,” said Font
Font is well aware of the gulf in size of the sport between Ireland and Spain and puts it down to participation figures. He said: “The basketball culture in Spain is much bigger. The Spanish league is the best in Europe.
“You see people playing basketball in the street, not as much as soccer obviously but in Ireland the culture is more centred on Gaelic sports and rugby. This translates into a bigger base of talented young players.”
Font is hopeful for the future but remains level-headed. The Spaniard has faith in his ability but believes there is more room for improvement as he looks to further his young career without putting too much pressure upon himself.
“I’m just trying to improve my game right now, become a better player and see where that can get me in the future, but I hope to get as high as I can.”