Scola Arrives in Phoenix, Talks Olympics

Scola and his Argentine teammates finished fourth at the London Olympics.
(Greg Esposito/Suns.com)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: August 22, 2012

Luis Scola has been on the move this summer.

Since the conclusion of the 2011-12 season, the new Suns power forward has traveled across three different continents, played in the Olympics and changed his mailing address. On Wednesday, he was at his new home in Phoenix for an introductory photo shoot and to meet with Suns personnel.

“It’s an exciting time for me,” Scola said of the move. “It’s a change and I always take change in a good way. You can make it good or bad, so I think you have to make it good.”

Click here for photos of Scola in a Suns uniform

When Scola was amnestied by the Rockets in order to make room for possible trades, the Suns were awarded the post player in the ensuing amnesty auction. The 32-year-old averaged 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds last season.

Once his tenure as a Rocket concluded on April 26, the 6-9 forward set off to South America to begin training with Argentina’s men’s national team. After wrapping up training, Argentina journeyed to Spain to play some exhibition games before the Olympics started.

Then, Scola and his Argentinian teammates proceeded to play in the maximum eight games over the two weeks of the Olympics, falling in the bronze medal game to Russia in the last minute of regulation. Still demonstrating his cunning play in the paint, Scola finished fifth in the Olympics in scoring at 18 points a game. It was Scola’s third Olympics, having captured gold in 2004 and a bronze in 2008.

Although a veteran of the Olympics, Scola still relished the experience.

“The Olympics are beyond sports the experience itself is amazing and very fulfilling,” he said. “I enjoyed all three Olympics that I played in. We came up short in this one for the medal, which would’ve been the perfect ending, but I had a good time.”

One of the highlights for Scola is enjoying the camaraderie of his fellow countrymen in the Olympic Village. Each country stays in their own building – or buildings –and the athletes are very supportive of each other throughout the competition.

“Life in the Olympic Village is very intense,” Scola said. “You have a lot of athletes competing and preparing themselves. Our sport has a great competition on a daily basis every week of the year, but the majority of the sports that are played in the Olympics are sports in which people pretty much base their whole lives on 10 seconds, or a jump, or whatever your sport has.”

Throughout the day, athletes watch their compatriots head off to compete and return in either one of two moods.

“You live with them the whole week,” the Suns power forward said. “You’re there when they go compete and then you’re there when they come back. It’s a special experience because you either celebrate or pat them on the back if they lose.”

Unfortunately, because London wasn’t as easy to navigate as Beijing, Scola wasn’t able to attend as many events as a spectator as he did in the past. However, he was able to watch the 100 meter races and some tennis.

Although Scola has been extremely busy this summer, he believes it actually helps his development as a player, as opposed to taking away from his time to rest. To him, playing in international competition is advantageous.

Now that he’s in Phoenix, Scola is looking at homes and doing all the things that everyone else does when they move. Once he finds his house, he’s going to return to Argentina, grab his family, and return to the Valley for the start of the season.

Scola said that his kids are looking forward to living in Arizona and enjoying the desert landscape.

“The desert and cactus are taken for granted by a lot of people,” Scola said.

And that’s where Scola differs from the Arizona scenery. After watching Scola play in the Olympics, not many Suns fans will take a player like him for granted this season.

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