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Cape Verdean Walter Tavares is currently the most successful player in the Euroleague, which is the premier basketball competition in Europe and the second most prestigious in the world behind the NBA. At 29, the pivot of Real Madrid is thriving on the Old Continent, he who had failed to make his hole in the North American league between 2015 and 2017.
On October 22, 2021, Frenchman Vincent Poirier broke a Real Madrid record. The pivot captured 17 rebounds in a Euroleague match, against the Turkish formation of Fenerbahçe (victory 70-69). With this XXL defensive performance, did Poirier subsequently become an indisputable holder in the Spanish basketball club?
The answer is no “. Walter Tavares was the taulier in the Madrid racket, whether in the Spanish Championship (Liga ACB) against Gran Canaria (his former team) on October 24, then in the European Cup (Euroleague) on October 27 against at Zenith Saint-Petersburg,.
Dominator in Europe
And for good reason: since the start of the 2021-2022 season, the Cape Verdean is the fifth best player in the performance index of the Liga ACB and quite simply the best in that of the Euroleague. How did the one who measures 2 meters 20 rise to this level?
Thanks to his defensive qualities obviously, which have already allowed him to be elected twice in a row best defender of the competition, in 2019 and 2021 . But also to his offensive contribution, Walter Tavares scoring an average of 13.6 points per game, with a success rate of 78% in 2-point shooting.
The one who started basketball at just 17 has been making steady progress since returning to Spain. In Europe, “Edy” – his nickname – has in the process enriched his record, with a title of champion of Spain, four Super Cups of Spain and a Euroleague.
A possible return to the NBA?
A rebound far from anecdotal, if we consider the failed experience of Walter Tavares on the other side of the Atlantic. Between 2015 and 2017, the native of Maio indeed tried in vain to make his hole in the North American Basketball League (NBA). Recruited by the Atlanta Hawks, however, he never really had his chance, with ten games played. Just like with the Atlanta Cavaliers with whom he only walked the floors once …
In two years, he will have spent much more time in the development league, the antechamber of the NBA, than in the NBA itself. An inevitably frustrating record for the first Cape Verdean in the history of the North American Championship.
When Walter Tavares breaks a basket with Cape Verde during Afrobasket 2021
So, after more than 300 matches with Real Madrid, would the person be tempted by a return to the United States? The one who recently became a father has never ruled out this possibility. But he regularly claims to feel good in the Spanish capital. Vincent Poirier will therefore still have to work to dislodge Walter Tavares from the five major Madrid.
 The 2019-2020 edition of the Euroleague did not come to an end because of the Covid-19 pandemic.