Shot-blocking king Vazquez comes to Unicaja in a trade

Unicaja Malaga strengthened its frontline and returned a star to his coming-of-age club by completing a trade with FC Barcelona Regal for the rights to shot-blocking king and 2010 Euroleague champ Fran Vazquez. Unicaja traded the rights to 19-year-old talent Alex Abrines to FC Barcelona Regal in exchange for the rights to Vazquez, who was under contract for an additional season in Barcelona. Once the trade was completed, Unicaja promptly signed Vazquez (2.09 meters, 29 years old) to a two-year deal. Vazquez first came to Unicaja as an 18-year old and played three seasons with the club – sandwiched around time on loan at Gran Canaria and Bilbao – before heading north and playing one season with Akasvayu Girona and the past six with FC Barcelona. With Barcelona, he reached three Euroleague Final Fours and won the title in 2010, when he set a championship game record with 4 rejections against Olympiacos. In his time with Barca, Vazquez re-wrote the Euroleague record books for blocked shots with 181, which is 41 more than former teammate Denis Marconato in second place and 69 more than the next active player. His average of 2.8 blocks per 40 minutes is third all-time and best among players with either 100 games played or 100 blocks. He is also among the career leaders in field goal shooting at 62.36% – sixth on the career list. Last season Vazquez averaged 4.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1 block in 21 Turkish Airlines Euroleague games and 5.8 points, 4.2 boards and 1 blocks in 34 Spanish League games. He upped those numbers to 7.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in the playoff to help Barcelona repeat as Spanish champion. It was his third Spanish League crown in his time with the club. Vazquez also won three Spanish King’s Cups with Barcelona and previously lifted one with Unicaja. Vazquez started his career at CB Xantada and then moved to Siglo XXI, a team for young talents in Spain, from 1997 to 2001 before joining CB Malaga – the second team of Unicaja – in 2001-02.

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