posted by Stefano Valenti 11:45 am
|Category: FIBA World Championship
THREE OUT, ITALY IS BACK...
Easier than expected! The key was to cut the last three players, after that Italy was back. Coach Carlo Recalcati worked with 18 players in Bormio, two more than the plan, due to the bad conditions of his veterans like Gianluca Basile, Matteo Soragna and Denis Marconato, the last two back from surgeries (hand and nose).
Then 16 for the tournament in Athens: three games, three losses. And bad losses.
And the coach, furious against somebody seemed to be unable to show the quality of basketball that let them be a part of the team, decided to make is final cut: power forward Di Giuliomaria and center Alessandro Cittadini are at the end of their dreams; and guard Giorgio Boscagin is elected as reserve-player, will training and travel with the team ready to be in the active roster in case of injures.
If there'll be no problems for the 12 selected, Boscagin will fly back to Italy from Seoul the same day the team flies to Sapporo on August 15.
Three out, and Italy's back. After 5 losses in a row, two clear victory versus France and Germany, Bronze and Silver medal at last Eurobasket in Serbia.
It was a kind of magician touch from the coach or just the payback after 50 days of hard job together? The timing when a group of players became a real team is now perfect?
It's hard to say now. Nobody knows if this is the best Italy we can see on the court: full of rookies at this level (4 of them never played at this kind of competition, just 6 are back from Eurobasket '05), not a young team (the rookies? Rocca 29 years old, Di Bella 28, Michelori 28 and finally Belinelli 20) and without of many of his recent stars (the captain Galanda, and plus Bulleri and Pozzecco) or solid players like Chiacig, or streak shooter like Righetti.
First of all, in Berlin the power of the guards was clear, like Recalcati expected until that: Basile as a factor with the threes, Mordente confirmed himself like a warrior able to punish on the weak side, Belinelli (at 20) ready to be the main offensive option for the team, with an average of 12.5 points in all the games played.
With Di Bella and Rocca the defense organization became more aggressive, and Marconato finally was a presence in the paint. More steals and fewer turnovers, the biggest problem in Acropolis Tournament but also in the heavy defeats vs Serbia and Greece in Bormio.
Leaving Roma to Seoul, for the final stage before the World Championship tip-off and last two friendly games with Turkey and host Korea, there's a team totally new, but now with the confidence that seemed to be lost after the 5 defeats between Bormio and Athens.
After a so long period of practice, quite nobody were sure about their place into the team: tired and nervous, many players offered easily their limits than quality.
With the 12 elected quality is now back, fortified from the guarantee of a shirt for Japan.
Berlin carried new awareness into the team. In 2004, before Olympic Games in Athens, Italy killed USA in Koln: is Germany the lucky country for the glory of Azzurri?