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12.08.2007 21:06

Sánchez, signed

Jaume Canut

Juan Ignacio ‘Pepe' Sánchez is the latest addition to AXA FC Barcelona for the 2007-08 season. The 20 year old point guard has signed for one season with the option to one more.

‘Pepe' Sánchez, signed from Unicaja Málaga, is a 1.93 m point guard with ample ACB experience, where he has been one of Malaga’s key players in recent years. Born on May 8, 1977 in Bahía Blanca (Argentina), he started out for Deportivo Roca in Argentina and then Estudiantes Bahía Blanca, the same clubs that have produced the likes of Emmanuel Ginóbili. Aged 19, he moved up to the USA and the University of Temple, where he played for four seasons.

Into the NBA

1903_66_03.jpgIn 2000 he was a third round 26th pick for Connecticut in the CBA draft. The same year, he signed for the Philadelphia 76ers and was the first Argentinian ever to play in the most important league in the world. In 29 games he averaged 7 points and 1.4 assists. But midway through the season he was transferred to the Atlanta Hawks as part of a deal involving Dikembe Mutombo. In Georgia he only played five games before returning to the Sixers, who went to the NBA finals, although Sanchez was to play no part.

European champion

In 2001-02 he signed for Panathinaikos in Greece, playing alongside other players with a Barça connection in Middleton and Bodiroga. He won the Euroleague with an average of 4 points and 4 assists in his 20 games. The season after he returned to the NBA, this time with the Detroit Pistons, but only made nine appearances.

On to the ACB

1872_BARCA5.jpgIn 2003-04, he came to the ACB to play for Etosa Alicante, after a brief period at Golden State Warriors. In Alicante he averaged 7.4 points and 6.3 assists, enough to catch the eye of Unicaja Málaga who secured his services the following year. He would stay there for three seasons, winning the Copa del Rey in 2005 and ACB League in 2005-06.

Olympic champion

‘Pepe' Sánchez is an important member of Argentina’s national team. At the Indianapolis world championship in 2002 he lost the final to Bodiroga and Pesic’s Serbia, but two years later was able to celebrate Olympic gold in Athens after beating Italy in the final. In the last world championship, where Argentina finished fourth, he registered 5.7 assists a game.
Sánchez, signed
Best passer in the league
‘Pepe' is especially famed for his passing skills. In the regular season gone by he made 4.5 assists a game to lead the category in the NBA. In the ACB play offs he made 14 assists in three games. He also led assists for his team in Europe. His 2.9 assists and 5.8 points helped his side into the final four as they beat Winterthur FC Barcelona in the quarter finals.

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