By Cesare Milanti/ email@example.com
When the Utah Jazz announced Leandro Bolmaro to be cut from the roster on February 17, everybody was expecting the 22-year-old Argentinian forward to come back to Europe, eventually in the place that helped him debut in the EuroLeague and start to rise: Barcelona.
He was drafted by the New York Knicks with the 23rd pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and straight moved to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Ricky Rubio’s trade which involved the Oklahoma City Thunder as well, but never really found space in Minneapolis once he ended his European experience in 2021.
Starting only two games out of 35 and averaging just 1.4 points and 1.2 rebounds with 31.5% from the field in 6.9 minutes per game, he was inserted as part of the trade which saw Rudy Gobert moving out of the Utah Jazz, where things didn’t really change.
He had the opportunity to play in just 14 games without starting none and shot 15% from the field. The Argentinian needed to get back to his pre-NBA life when he was considered one of the most efficient players in the Old Continent. But nobody was expecting him to join Lenovo Tenerife.
The 2022 Basketball Champions League champions were facing the last 2023 Round of 16 games when the Argentinian made the jump from the NBA to the Canary Islands, and he was a big reason why the yellow-and-black side managed to book the ticket earlier than the rest of the opponents.
Tying the game in Bilbao – where Txus Vidorreta’s team won last year – following a crazy comeback and keeping Tenerife alive helped the Spanish side finally get the win and advance to the Quarter-Finals, where they will face BAXI Manresa in the rematch of last season’s final.
🥶 @BolmaroLeandro TIES THE GAME IN BILBAO! 🥶#BasketballCL I @CB1939Canarias pic.twitter.com/TbkgrTCIAp
— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) March 7, 2023
Straight from his debut, he managed to be important for his new team, entering a qualified and experienced locker room with names like Marcelinho Huertas, Giorgi Shermadini, Sasu Salin, and a lot more teammates.
Speaking about the Brazilian veteran, the former Barcelona player had nothing but good words. “Tenerife plays together, nobody seeks individual performance but the collective. Players like Huertas help me a lot on the court and this is a very united team”, he said praising Marcelinho.
Following the only loss of this Basketball Champions League phase by Lenovo Tenerife against UCAM Murcia – which will face Unicaja Malaga in another Spanish clash in the Quarter-Finals -, Leandro Bolmaro played the best game so far with his new team, scoring 15 points against Darussafaka.
He’s making a name for himself in the 50/40/90 club discussion, shooting 58.3% from two, 40% from beyond the arc, and 83.3% at the line, where he has always been reliable. Despite a small statistic sample (5.7 shots per game), he has been spending just 18.9 minutes on the court, making his presence felt.
“Tenerife was one of the options I discussed most with my agent, who convinced me that coming here was the best option. I am happy about how they are treating me, I am enjoying and I feel very happy to be here. They received me very well, I did not expect it, and surprised me”, the Argentinian said after coming back to the ACB League with Tenerife.
If Lenovo Tenerife wants to participate in the second straight Basketball Champions League Final Four and become the second-ever Spanish club to win back-to-back titles in this competition after San Pablo Burgos, an important effort will be needed from Leandro Bolmaro, the newest Canarian gem.
Feels like home, huh @BolmaroLeandro? 🥱#BasketballCL I @CB1939Canarias pic.twitter.com/jomkgo21XC
— Basketball Champions League (@BasketballCL) March 21, 2023
PHOTO CREDIT: Basketball Champions League