By Dimitris Kontos
|Ádám Hanga was in fine fettle this summer, leading Hungary in several statistical categories|
Hungary was last ruled by a king during the now distant Hapsburg era, but this summer saw the rise of a new sort of undisputed leader in the central European country.
Adam Hanga, at the age of 23, was effectively handed the crown in a national team that dreams of returning to a glorious past, its last EuroBasket podium dating back to 1955.
The 2.00m guard/forward responded to the anointment in imperious form, leading the team in scoring, steals and blocks in the EuroBasket Qualification Round.
Did the young Hanga feel the responsibility of a leader?
"Of course," he tells FIBAEurope.com
"Last year in Spain (with ACB club Assignia Manresa) I think I had a great season and everyone in Hungary was sort of expecting me to lead the team.
"I think I did pretty well but I cannot really say I did a god job, because we didn't qualify."
Hanga averaged 16.1 points per contest but Hungary only won three of their eight games and finished in fourth place in Group D.
"But there was a big disappointment of course because we didn't make it, and I really think we could have made it, but just after the third lost game or so we lost our trust and our faith."
It's even worse when the team feel they came oh so close to their goal.
"For example, we lost by two points (81-79) to Croatia at home, that was a really important game," Hanga explains.
"But that's how they play, they have tough, experienced players who play for Euroleague teams and we were a team that didn't have so much experience at this level.
"It was some small details but that's basketball, small things can make a big difference.
"So I was really sad but I had to put it behind me to come back to Manresa."
BUDAPEST, MANRESA OR SAN ANTONIO?
Hanga, who sports a big warm smile off the court, would definitely be a benevolent monarch.
He would also be the most decisive of rulers.
His extraordinary athletic ability, combined with a great vision of the game, allow him to move towards the ball first among teammates and opponents and know exactly what to do with it once he gets it - normally a spectacular dunk if he's on the offensive end.
There is never a moment of hesitation. So if, for example, Hungary head coach Laszlo Ratgeber called him tomorrow and asked him if he can count on him in the summer when the national team is involved in qualifying for EuroBasket 2015 he would know exactly what to say, right?
|Prince with hops: Ádám Hanga's athleticism allows him to dunk or block shots almost at will|
"That's a good question," Hanga responds with his trademark smile.
There is a pause and you can almost see the wheels turning in the back of the brain of this player who never hesitates.
"I don't know yet. I am always ready for the national team, I am ready to go and do the same thing again and again.
"But, I got drafted by San Antonio (Spurs) and if I get the chance to go practice with them or join the team it will be a big opportunity for me, for my career, so I don't know yet, it's going to be a tough decision."
There is no need to choose between Hungary and Texas just yet, there are more pressing matters at hand until right now.
"After last year's good showing there is more pressure this season at Manresa but I think I started the season really bad," he admits.
The explosive Hungarian is only averaging six points on 31 percent shooting from the floor during the first five games of the 2012/13 Spanish Liga Endesa, well below his respective figures in the previous season.
"But I keep working on it and try to take it game by game and improve in every game.
"We started with five losses but we have thirty more games, so it's a long season and we can turn it around."
Watch Adam Hanga's dunk in the EuroBasket Qualification Round, good for a top ten finish for the summer.