New York's 2015 2nd-round pick Willy Hernangómez flashed both his skills and his youth in Spain's 105-98 loss to Italy on Tuesday.
After a strong performance against Turkey two days earlier, Spanish head coach Sergio Scariolo rewarded Willy with some first-half playing time against Italy.
Willy responded beautifully, setting wide screens, finishing in traffic and generally playing his role about as well as he could have. He scored six points (3-of-3 from the field) in four minutes and made one of the best plays of the game, swatting an Italian shot and running the floor to finish the play on the other end.
Spain leads Italy 45-42 at half. Here's Willy Hernangomez with the swat and fastbreak finish (via @Aaron_Morales_) https://t.co/wZOoyeEjiJ— Austin Green (@LosCrossovers) September 8, 2015
After that, it was all downhill for Willy and his fellow Spaniards.
He played just one minute in the second half, and he managed to cram an impressive amount of failure into his brief time on the court.
First, he and Nikola Mirotic botched a pick-and-roll on defense, which resulted in Willy a) getting dunked on, and b) committing an unnecessary foul that led to a three-point play.
On Spain's next offensive possession, Willy threw away what should have been a simple pass and he was promptly benched.
For the rest of the game, he watched helplessly from the sidelines as Marco Belinelli and former Knick Danilo Gallinari rained hellfire from the Berlin sky. Belinelli hit 7-of-9 three-pointers on his way to 27 points, while Gallinari added 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
Although Hernangómez's second-half run was disappointing, it shouldn't discourage Knicks fans too much. He's the youngest player on Spain's roster and he has played very well overall.
Through three games, he's averaging 5.6 points in just 7.6 minutes per game, and he's made 9-of-11 field goal attempts. He should see more opportunities in Spain's final group stage games (vs. Iceland on Wednesday and Germany on Thursday).
You can check out all of the EuroBasket 2015 games on ESPN3.