Former UTEP Miner Eric Vila Finally Healthy and Playing in Spain
For two years, Eric Vila was never right. The Spanish forward struggled with a foot injury that grew worse during his time at UTEP. When he was on the court, he either never felt comfortable or came close to fulfilling the expectations of Miner fans. As the injury to his left foot grew worse, Vila contemplated never playing basketball again. Thanks in part to a misdiagnosis, Vila discovered that his foot injury was in fact worse than he originally thought but he was able to get surgery to correct the problem.
More than 12 months after he was honored during Senior Night, Vila is healthy again and back in Spain playing professional basketball for his hometown team. CB Girona won their second division title and now they will be moving up to the first division of pro basketball in Spain. Vila told us that the quality of competition is second to only the NBA.
Speaking of the NBA, former three-time NBA All Star forward Marc Gasol has the dual role of owner and player for Girona, the team he founded in 2014. Gasol averaged 14.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 25.2 minutes per game. He has already committed to playing again this season with Girona.
As for Vila, he played over 20 minutes per game last season as a rookie for Girona, and he averaged over 8 points per game. He was also the youngest player on the team, but he credited Gasol for his development as he transitioned into pro basketball in Spain. Vila idolized Gasol as a youngster playing basketball and now that they are teammates it is a dream come true for the former UTEP Miner. His only regret is not being able to play basketball at the level that UTEP Miners fans were accustomed to seeing.
Eric Vila still has high hopes, which include playing for Spain's National team and eventually coming back to the states for a shot at the NBA. For now, Eric Vila is healthy and happy being back in his hometown.