With two Spaniards already in the mix and having success, the Winnipeg Wesmen went out and got another in the Class of 2023.

Wesmen men's basketball head coach Mike Raimbault has landed yet another Spanish talent, gaining the commitment of Nico Longarela, a 6-foot-6 guard from Madrid, to join the program in time for the 2023-24 Canada West season. 

He will enroll in Economics and Finance, and have five years of eligibility. 

Longarela, who most recently played at Lennoxville Prep in Quebec, will join countrymen Alberto Gordo and Mikhail Mikhailov on the Wesmen squad next season. 

Longarela played with the noted Madrid club Movistar Estudiantes prior to heading to Canada. He briefly teamed up with Mikhailov with Estu, giving him some familiarity with a player he'll once again call a teammate. As for Gordo, friends put Longarela in touch with the Canada West rookie team all-star, strengthening Longarela's connection to his new team. 

"They kept me updated and answered any questions I had, so it was great," Longarela said. "I know it's going to be easier to adjust with them there. Whenever you go to a new place, it's always nice to have some people you already know and are willing to help you. ."

Longarela, whose brother Dani played at Bishop's University and was the Gaiters most improved player as a senior last season, came to Canada in 2022 to get a sense of the "culture and basketball there". Now that he's gotten acclimated to the Canadian lifestyle, he's ready to make Winnipeg his next home. 

"I've seen that Winnipeg is a big city and I'm very excited to know about it and I'm very, very excited to go to a new team with new players. It feels like a great opportunity. I've seen how Mike coaches and I feel like I can be ready to compete for him."

Longarela has also had an opportunity to familiarize himself with the rest of the team, having taken a trip to Halifax in March to watch the Wesmen at the national championship tournament. 

"I met some of the guys and the coaches in person, and we made a good connection," he said. "I felt like it was a great option from the first moment and I saw the team is very solid and I feel really confident with the team. It felt like a really good option from the start."

Longarela is a big body with guard skills. He says he's comfortable shooting the ball from the perimeter but isn't afraid to get the dirty work done on the glass, either. 

"We are excited to have Nico joining the program," Raimbault said. "He adds a combination of size, skill and athleticism for us at a few positions."

In addition to Dani, Longarela's brother Pablo also plays high-level basketball back in Spain, competing in the semipro level there while also having suited up for the Spanish national U20 program in 2021. 

Source: https://wesmen.ca/news/2023/5/9/recruiting-wesmen-go-spanish-route-once-again-to-land-2023-forward.aspx

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