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Augustana Observer

Augie Talks with Nolan Ebel (’19), international basketball player


Nolan Ebel, a 2019 graduate of Augustana College, has been playing professional basketball in Spain. Ebel played for Circulo Gijon Baloncesto in Spain’s LEB Plata league this past season. Ebel is currently at home after his season was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Q: What was the experience like when it came to playing over in Spain?
A: “It was an interesting experience, but playing at Augustana has really allowed me to adjust quickly. I showed up to the team halfway through the season and when I showed up I had three days from the time my plane touched down in Spain until the first game. So that was difficult because I had to learn the way they play and the plays pretty quickly. Once I got the hang of the plays I got more comfortable. It’s a different game in Spain its really more team and play orientated so that took a little while to get used to.”
Q: How does the competition in Spain compare to what you played here in the CCIW?
A: “It’s a lot more like the division one game. Every team has a seven footer, and more times than not, those are the guys they import from other countries. It was a big transition from me because I went from driving the lane and trying to score over 6’5″ division three players to going against 7’0″ division one players. They are a lot quicker, and everyone on the floor knows their position extremely well. The game over there is extremely specialized. If you are a point guard, you strictly distribute and run the offense. A shooting guard will score every time he has the ball. That was different for me because at Augie, I kind of did both.”

Nolan Ebel (’19) signs a basketball for a fan after a game in Spain. Photo submitted by Nolan Ebel.

Q: With the game being so specialized, how has that helped you be a better player?
A: “I learned so much this past year. I am excited to take it into the off-season and apply it to my game. Although I was only over there for a short time, the coaches and teammates I had taught me a lot about the game of basketball.”
Q: What was it like dealing with the language barrier?
After a brief chuckle, Ebel said,
A: “Not a single one of my coaches spoke English over in Spain. Every single meeting I was in, I had to have a teammate translate what they were saying. So that took some getting used to. Most teams have a translator or someone that just understood English, however, my team did not. As time went on, I was able to pick up basketball terms and that allowed me to get a solid understanding of what was going on. Most of my teammates and the referees spoke or understood English, so it wasn’t bad in that capacity.”
Q: What made you choose to play in Spain?
A: “Playing in Spain was my goal from the beginning. As far as competition goes, it is second best in the world behind the United States. The goal was to make it up to the ACB (Spain’s top league). My agent got me the opportunity to where I am now, and it was a great experience. There is only one other division three player that I know of that has played in this league. It is high quality basketball.”
Q: So I know you were in Spain during the COVID situation and you are back home now. How have you been trying to stay in shape?
A: “It has been a struggle. I have been talking to my agent a lot about what is next and my trainer from the Quad Cities has been posting a large amount of workouts that I have been following on my own. I have a good setup here between a small weight room and a basketball net at my house. I have actually already worn out and gone through a net because of how much I have been shooting. I’m just trying to stay in good shape and be ready for when this is all over. When this thing ends, the call for me to go somewhere can come quick and I can’t risk not being ready.”
Featured image: Nolan Ebel (’19) plays with Circulo Gijon Baloncesto in Spain’s LEB Plata league earlier this season. Image submitted by Nolan Ebel. 

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Augie Talks with Nolan Ebel (’19), international basketball player