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Edy Tavares (CPV)
05/01/2015
League
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Cape Verde's Tavares making strides

LAS PALMAS (Liga Endesa/AfroBasket 2015) - Edy Tavares is a skyscraper among basketball players.

At 2.20m in height, the Gran Canaria and Cape Verde center changes games with his shot-blocking and is increasingly doing so with his shot-making.

The 22-year-old is getting better and better.

This season is proving to be Tavares' best.

He has had at least one block in 13 of Gran Canaria's Spanish Liga Endesa games and seven of the team's nine Eurocup clashes.

Sometimes he has had multiple blocks including during an important November victory over Telenet Oostend when he swatted six shots.

In the Liga Endesa, Tavares blocked four shots in the team's win over Rio Natura Monbus and then five in a two-point defeat to FIAT Joventut.

At AfroBasket 2013, a competition that always has its share of highlight reel rejections, Tavares had 11 blocks in seven games and finished with the fourth-best average of 1.6 blocks per game.

There is a general acceptance that it takes longer for giant basketball players like Tavares to reach their best, so it stands to reason that he is only scratching the surface of his potential.

He has the luxury right now of being guided by one of the all-time great coaches in Spain at Gran Canaria, Aito Garcia, someone renowned for his work with young players.

Garcia coached Ricky Rubio at DKV Joventut Badalona and Tomas Satoransky at Cajasol Sevilla when they were teenagers.

Tavares is his latest project.

"He's improving," Garcia said to FIBA.com. 

"He's improving physically, he's improving technically. The most difficult thing for him is knowing what he must do in every moment, different moments. He must choose the options. 

"He began to play late when he was 16 years old and it's difficult for him to learn everything very fast."

Garcia wouldn't be drawn on how far Tavares can go in the sport.

"He's improving," he said one last time.

There is little doubt that Tavares is a crucial player for Gran Canaria this season.

How far they go may depend on the big pivot.

On Sunday, he had 12 points, six rebounds and three very important swats.

Gran Canaria prevailed, 71-70. They are eighth in the Liga Endesa with eight wins. A top-eight finish is needed to reach the mid-season Copa del Rey.

Tavares is learning.

Offense is probably where he needs to make inroads.

"I feel great," he said after the win. "I always speak to everyone on the team and they always tell me that when I'm alone to shoot. Each time I find it better in attack."

It's clear that Tavares is at an exciting time in his career.

He was all smiles after the team's latest victory.

FIBA