… France and Italy, the two last Olympic Silver Medal winners, are preparing their Eurobasket 2009 qualification in Bormio and faced off for yet another test game tonight. And the least one could say is that it was bad.
Both teams are in a total renewal process and some of the names on the court were totally unknown to observers that do not follow the local French and Italian leagues. So I had the chance to learn a bit about the playing style of Valerio Amoroso and the athletic abilities of Dounia Issa.
Of course, both countries have produced a lot of NBA players, but except Ronny Turiaf for France, none were present on the floor in the Alpine city of Northern Italy. While Danilo Gallinari is still recovering from its back injury, the young French draftees are currently preparing their future NBDL NBA career by being on holiday. Not to mention the guys that were not even selected or had a trillion reasons for not joining the squads this summer.
So I saw a festival of offensive fouls, traveling violations, bad choices and even two FT airballs from one and the same player. Yes, a professional player going for a double airball on the charity stripe. Thank you Christian di Giuliomaria for giving me the opportunity to see this happen. But to give the Udine center some credit, he hit a three pointer during the game.
Ah yeah, I nearly forgot the main point of the game. Italy won 68-65 in crunch time that was really the apocalypse of this basketball game. With about 15 seconds on the clock and Italy ball while up 1, coach Recalcati’s team went for a three-point shot and airballed it. The French defense grabbed the rebound, but it was Massimo Bulleri that stole the ball away on the rebound and scored the layup to make it 68-65. Six seconds remained on the clock and France went for a full-court three-point shot with 5 seconds left; it was an airball of course. Woooow.
Dear Basketball Gods, let the games begin. Please…