“I will give everything I have to be able to make an impact”
“I will give everything I have to be able to have an impact on the national team in the best way.” It is the message that Paolo Banchero, first overall pick of the last draft and Orlando Magic star, sends to the Italian national basketball team. At the beginning of December, the national team delegation will meet Banchero to discuss the possibility of having him with the Azzurri in view of the World Cup in 2023, but in the meantime the rookie already seems to have very clear ideas.
In a long interview with the official Fiba website, the first overall pick of the last Draft expressed all his emotion and his thoughts in view of the commitments with the Azzurri. “The way we play in the international arena is a little different, but I will give everything I have to be able to have an impact on the national team in the best way” she said in the interview made in early November. “Italy played some great games and I loved the way they played against Serbia, showing incredible defense and great movement up front. The way the team play is fantastic, really impressive to see. The passion and the unity they have is fantastic, as well as that of the coach and the staff. Beating a team like Serbia shows what Italy is capable of: we have a very good team and the future is rosy, that’s for sure.”
Banchero added precisely on the group: “The team comes first: unity and the collective are the most important thing in basketball. We play a team sport and the most important thing is the group, not the individual. To win you have to have the best players and play together. When I play for the national team I will be another player, and I will strive to be the best possible companion, example and player to help Italy. I am excited to be able to contribute to the team sooner or later and achieve great results”.
As for his personal involvement, Banchero revealed that he is in contact with Nico Mannion (“He’s a good friend of mine, we often talk about many things. I’m happy for him, I congratulated him after his excellent performance at Eurobasket”) and with Riccardo Fois, assistant coach of the Azzurri who first went to ‘recruit’ him at the time in Seattle (“We have a good relationship, we often talk about the national team and Italian basketball in general. He gives me lots of information”), as well as expressing his his admiration for Danilo Gallinari: “I have great respect for his career and for having been an example for Italian basketball. I love his movements and the way he shoots: he is a great scorer and his long career speaks for itself. He has helped the national team for a long time and is a leader, someone you would like to play with.”