09 October, 2018
14 April, 2019
10 Queralt Casas (SOP)
Long Read
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Casas: Unexpected Carolo twist, a home with Iniguez and Sopron, favorite players picked

SOPRON (Hungary) - Smiling and celebrating after a historic first ever EuroLeague Women success at Carolo Basket feels like a lifetime ago for Queralt Casas, who is unexpectedly preparing for her Final Four debut.

Only she will be walking out at the Novomatic Arena in Sopron knowing exactly what to expect, since it has been her home floor for several months, having made a shock mid-season move to the 2018 Finalists, 


So what exactly happened that changed the course of her recent career so dramatically?

It had all seemed to be going so well at competition newcomers, Carolo Basket. Casas, in her first campaign with the French club, was instrumental in them collecting early wins and getting off to a positive start. However, those positive headlines were quickly replaced by rumors of a rift between the club and player surfacing on social media.

As you would expect, Casas is not keen to reveal the ins and outs, perhaps smartly reflecting on the fact that after a hugely challenging period, she was able to emerge into the light. Although she does still flicker with a strand of bemusement when reflecting on the brief time she spent in limbo, between both clubs.

"It is true that I had to spend a hard week without knowing anything about my future," she confessed.

"I didn't feel I deserved that and I didn't know where it had all come from - that was the hardest part. Even if I wanted to talk about the details, I can't do it because they still didn't give me any reason about why they took the decision.

"But actually, I have to be thankful to them. Because of that, I'm here today (in Sopron) living one of my dreams. As I would say, 'things happen for a reason'. Plus, I'll always be grateful to Roberto (Iniguez) and Sopron for trusting me and giving me this opportunity.

"It's my first Final Four and it's been on my 'bucket list', so all I know is that I'm going to enjoy every single moment of the event. For me it's a prize only to be able to dispute it. We know it's going to be very difficult to win, but we'll fight for it. Nobody said it's going to be easy, but also people will remind you that nothing is impossible."


One of the clear bonuses for Casas moving to Sopron has been linking up with her compatriot Roberto Iniguez. So far at least, it has been a match made in heaven from a basketball standpoint.

Casas revealed: "I had never worked with Roberto before, but I had wanted to for a long time. Not just because of his career, but due to how all of his various team's work - the way they play, run and play defense. These on-court things were already getting my attention.

"He is one of the best coaches in the women's basketball world and that's a fact. Not just for what he has achieved, which is amazing, but when speaking with him, you can realize just how much he knows about the game.

"Another good thing that is that he cares about the players as human beings," she added.

"This is very important, because before being considered as a basketball player, we are all different people with a different life and with different problems. And, he respects that. He says, 'Basketball is the most important of the least important'."

Wise words, as you would expect from a playcaller with such a reputation.

That feeds into the concept that the welcome afforded to Casas at all levels has been fueling a feel-good factor. Something which combined with her infectious energy and enthusiasm, produces so much for fans and other people to love. Indeed any observers of Casas (ruled out as ineligible) during the Hungarian Cup which Sopron won, will have noticed she was picking up towels, water bottles and anything else she could lay her hands on. It was striking.

As was her recent attendance at one of Sopron's many youth tournaments, which are steadily growing even more in stature and reputation.

"Sopron is more than a senior team, it's a basketball club where they really care about young players," she enthused.

"I think for the younger ones, it is very good and important to have a senior team which is playing in EuroLeague Women and fighting with the best clubs in Europe. It has to be a big motivation for them.

"I was present at the international youth tournament that took place a few weeks ago here in Sopron. I considered it as a great experience for the young girls. In fact, I was talking with some girls from Girona (my city) who were lucky enough to be able to dispute it, and they loved it. They enjoyed it so much."


What has been striking about Casas during her relatively short time in Hungary is that she has been expressing herself, playing with a smile on her face and it has manifested itself in the kind of special moments she has been producing on the court.

She is no stranger to the EuroLeague Women highlights reel and was one of just a handful of nominees for a Regular Season poll which asked fans to choose 'The Most Entertaining Player'.

"It's a big honor for me. I could never have imagined that before the season started," smiled Casas.

"I think for a player, it is very important to have freedom to express ourselves and enjoy what we're doing on the court while still following the rules of the team. Every player has different skills. So, it is good to have freedom, but to always keep thinking for the good of the team."

As well as being the provider of entertainment and getting supporters off their seats, it is interesting that Casas is just as enthusiastic to reveal her own favorites in the women's game - something most athletes refrain from doing when asked.

"There are a lot of players and I'll tell you my World Top 5 and also my European Top 5 that I have had the luck to play with, or against," she smiled.

"It is Diana Taurasi, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Candice Dupree and Elizabeth Cambage, then in Europe, it is Laia Palau, Celine Dumerc, Amaya Valdemoro, Emma Meesseman and Sancho Lyttle."


As someone who is loving life right now because of what her career is delivering, Casas has admitted that she still needs to be cautious and make sure she hits the pause button mentally from time to time.

"Obviously basketball takes up a big part of my life because it is my passion and also because I dedicate many hours a day to it," she mused.

"But as I said before, firstly I'm a person. So when I have time for myself, like a day off for example, I like to disconnect. I think it is both good and necessary.

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2018 ❤ 🙌 🍀

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"What I like the most, is to spend time with my people - my family and friends. This is the most important thing in my life, the people that I have around me and especially my family.

"I also love to do other sports. For example, in the summer, when I have a lot of time, I like to play paddle (tennis), soccer and do some biking. I try to not even think about basketball, at least for some of the days, while I also love to travel around the world - it is another of my passions.​"

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🌴🌳🍃💦 иατυʀε ❤ #BaliMemories

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Quite how much time Casas will have during this forthcoming summer for family, friends and some non-basketball pursuits remains to be see. That is because she could be in the Spanish roster for the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019.

In truth, she has drifted in and out of national team participation throughout her career – perhaps hardly a surprise when you consider the embarrassment of riches that Spain have in their backcourt and on the wings. Back in 2013, Casas won gold in France, while last year she came back into the mix for the FIBA Women's Basketball World Cup 2018 on home soil - having been absent for most of the tournaments beforehand.

With nothing assured, Casas is understandably letting her basketball do the talking and taking absolutely nothing for granted. Perhaps learning from the roller-coaster of the past six years, she knows that what will be, will be.

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2018 🏀 🙌 🍀

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"It's always a big pleasure and honor to represent your country and it's true that the path has not been easy for me, but I think because of how hard it was to get in the team, the bronze in Tenerife last year tasted like gold," she reflected.

"Of course I would be the happiest woman alive if they counted on me as a part of the team for the FIBA Women's EuroBasket 2019 and all I can say is that I'll work and fight for it."

For now though, Casas can simply focus on her maiden Final Four and immersing herself in the basketball joy of being somewhere she never really expected to be - or at least when that very first ball of the EuroLeague Women Regular Season was thrown up.