Sergio De Larrea won’t celebrate his 18th birthday until early December, but U18 Valencia Basket’s star playmaking talent has already gone through several highs and lows from which he has learned. The stress of De Larrea’s biggest high, in fact, led indirectly to him missing time from the game and coming back with a different mindset.
De Larrea is playing his third ANGT for Valencia and watching him play the game is a joy for fans of creative playmakers. It should be no surprise that he spent countless hours studying the likes of Luka Doncic, Ricky Rubio and Vasilije Micic.
"Those guys are different great players, but they have a lot in common in that they play a lot for the pass and look for their teammates," said De Larrea, who regularly dishes no-look passes to teammates. "They have good ideas. I like these types of players because my perception of basketball is to play for the whole team and not just for myself."
De Larrea has risen in status to become one of the best young playmakers on the continent. He is spending his third season in the ANGT and averaged 17.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks at the 2022 ANGT Belgrade. Entering Sunday's fifth-place game at the 2023 qualifying event, he's posted 17.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.7 steals for a PIR of 24.0.
"This is always an honor to play in this type of tournament because we learn a lot. We play against the best players in Europe. It’s a great experience to grow as a player," De Larrea said about the ANGT.
De Larrea hails from Valladolid, about 100 kilometers from Madrid. He was playing at a small school team - not even a club - when two years ago he decided to join Valencia.