“In the national team that beat the Serbia I reviewed it spirit than that of 2004. Some games suffer more from watching them than playing them. I would have liked to be on the pitch with them because you could see they were having fun ”. Word of Gianluca Basile, 47 years old native of Ruvo di Puglia. Thanks to his “ignorant shots”, theItalbasket won a Olympic silver in 2004 ad Athens it’s a bronze at the European Championships in 2003 in Sweden. That day in Stockholm a “working-class” Italy managed to overcome the France of the Nba star Tony Parker. Nineteen years later, Italy will face the transalpines again in the quarter-finals of Eurobasket. To get into the top four in Europe, a “perfect match” like the one against Serbia will be needed.
Basile, how did you feel watching Italy beat the Serbs?
An incredible emotion. They are games that create an enthusiasm that is unparalleled. No victory with the club can equal a victory with the national team. The Azzurri were able to bring back a euphoria that had been missing in basketball for years. Credit must be given to Sacchetti who started the work and Pozzecco who continued it.
Speaking of Poz, what did you think at the time of your expulsion?
The situation that created Gianmarco gave us a shock. From then on, the boys got unlocked. Think of Spissu: his performance is an act of love towards his coach. And let’s not forget that a year earlier in Belgrade he hadn’t even played.
For the Italian coach, Sunday’s was “the best game in the history of Italian basketball”. Even more than the victory against Lithuania in the semifinals in Athens 2004, where you were on the pitch together.
The hot Poz can say anything, even the shit … (laughs). The match against Serbia was a great match even if he still hasn’t brought anything home. In the history books you get medals. In a few years no one will remember the match with Serbia if you have not reached the podium. But in the meantime, let’s enjoy this moment. This national team deserves much more than a win with Serbia in the round of 16, compared to last year we have more experience and awareness. The Azzurri are on the right path.
She knows Pozzecco well, she has played there in both the national team and with the Fortitudo shirt.
It should be taken as it is. If everyone is expecting a Pozzecco alla Messina then you are not even going to get it. The many opinions about him after the match against Ukraine made me laugh: mistakes are made, every coach makes them. It is not easy to coach the national team: you have a short period to prepare and the margin of error is very low. Just miss a match and you will finish fourth in the group as happened with Italy.
And then she met the first “Poz coach”, the one who drove the Orlandina in A2, while she was still playing.
It was his first experience as a coach and maybe sometimes we players helped him in taking care of the defensive aspect. As a player he never defended, but as a coach he understood the importance of that aspect. He has had a lot of experience in Croatia and in Milan with Messina. Now he is much more attached to defense than to attack. If you defend then you can run and make easy baskets and you are calmer.
A calm in attack witnessed by 42% of 3 against Serbia. Does this national team remind you of the 2004 one?
It is from last summer that I started to review the spirit of 2004. We were inferior to many but inside we had something more. The defense gave us peace of mind and when you are calm you can put in any shot. And if they don’t get in, you can also afford a few empty laps because the defense holds and everything becomes easier.
Is there any blue in which you see yourself today?
I met again in Fontecchio, but he is much stronger. If I think about the physique he has compared to what I had … (laughs). In recent years, basketball has changed, it has grown. He goes over the iron and in defense he changes your shot: now he is aware that he can score anything. He is much stronger than me and has a clear path in front of him.
Now there is France. What match will it be?
Let’s start again from the defeat in the quarterfinals of the Olympics last year. We played it until the end, but today we have an extra year of experience.
Is Jokic or Gobert scarier?
They are two different players: one dominates the attack, the other the defense. I would be more afraid of the Frenchman because he gives you a lot even in defense, he changes your shots and penetrations. It will be difficult for our outsiders to go inside and lay up. It will be important to have big three-pointers, to defend and to control the rebounds. If I remember correctly, it was the attacking rebounds suffered in the final minutes that condemned us last year against the French.
Where can this Italy go?
Only they can know. This is certain. We are in the most difficult part of the draw but in this European Championship everyone can win and lose against anyone. Sure, there are stars like Jokic, Antetokounmpo and Doncic but the Slovenia I saw doesn’t play with the same fluidity as the one that won gold in 2017, as they depend much more on Doncic. And in Europe alone you don’t win the game, you always have to be helped by the team if you want to take it home.