With games coming up against Latvia, Israel, Finland and newly-promoted Montenegro in EuroBasket Division A, new Italy coach Simone Pianigiani will have his hands full.
It will make it easier if the team’s three most high-profile players, Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli of the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks ace Danilo Gallinari, are able to play.
Italian Basketball Federation president Dino Meneghin, a former national team star himself, has returned from New York where he just held meetings with the players.
“We have not gone into depth regarding our summer program with them,” Meneghin said. “I have only told them what the intentions of the Federation are with respect to the logistics of the next qualifying phase that will see us involved in August.
“I have not received any answers, whether positive or negative, because I didn’t ask.” continued Meneghin. “This wasn’t the aim of my trip. The players were interested and have asked for information about the technical staff and the dates and venues of the games.”
What is obvious to Meneghin and any other federation presidents outside North America that has players in the NBA is that there needs to be good communication.
“From now on, the relationship between the FIP and the three NBA players will be more frequent,” Meneghin said.
“At this point of the season, it would not have been fair to force them to give me an answer but I am optimistic because in recent days, I have been able to speak directly to the Toronto and New York executives and I have reiterated the importance of us having Bargnani, Belinelli and Gallinari next summer.
“We face a very difficult qualifying round and with the three of them on the court, it will be less challenging.”