Thanks to all my teammates.it was an unbelievable summer….thanks for everything
— danilo gallinari (@gallinari8888) September 8, 2012
Congratulations to Gallinari and the entire Italian National Team, which finished Eurobasket qualifying with an 8-0 record after defeating Belarus 83-58. Gallinari had 16 points, 12 rebounds and four steals for Italy, which has dropped off the basketball map since competing at the 2006 World Championship in Japan, even giving Team USA a tight game in pool play. (The Italians won the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, ahead of the bronze medal United States team coached by Larry Brown.)
In case you missed it, correspondent A.J. Mitnick did on a column on the top 25 performers with NBA ties at Eurobasket qualifying, which took place throughout the summer. Mitnick has another column on the way wrapping up who qualified, and how, for the Eurobasket ’13 tournament in Slovenia, which will determine who qualifies for the 2014 World Cup of Basketball in Spain.
It is notable that Italy went 8-0 without NBA players Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli.
Bargnani sat out at the request of the Raptors to allow his calf injury extra time to heal, and Belinelli was an unrestricted free agent, moving from the New Orleans Hornets to the Chicago Bulls.
Were the two missed?
Read what you want into this quote from Bargnani, via Italian journalist Michele Gazetti:
“Me, Belinelli and Bargnani tried to play with the National Team like in the NBA. And it doesn’t work. We’re not Wade, Bosh and LeBron.”