MILAN (EuroBasket 2011) - Danilo Gallinari plans on wearing the Italy jersey for the first time in senior competition when the Azzurri play at this summer's EuroBasket in Lithuania.
Injuries and health problems have prevented Gallinari, who was traded by the New York Knicks to the Denver Nuggets this season, from playing for the national team.
But the 22-year-old is coming off an excellent NBA season, is fit and he wants to join the Simone Pianigiani-coached squad when the Italians play in the 24-team tournament.
"For now, I'm getting some rest," the player said in a radio interview in Milan, with the remarks carried by basketnews.net.
"Then, I will leave for China take part in a program for the NBA.
"Upon my return, I'll start working out, take a short holiday and then I’ll join the Italian national team for EuroBasket 2011."
If Italy have Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli in their line-up, Pianigiani will have three terrific players to lead the team into battle against France, Serbia, Latvia, Israel and Germany in Group B.
Italy won the European title in 1999 and claimed bronze in 2003 before snatching silver at the 2004 Olympics.
They have not been on the podium since, however, and have also not played in the Final Round of a major event since EuroBasket 2007 when they came up short of the Quarter-Finals and missed the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament.