By Johnny Askounis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Italy receiving a huge boost this summer seems likely.
Orlando Magic’s Paolo Banchero recently met with officials of the Italian Basketball Federation and senior national team head coach Gianmarco Pozzecco, and once more displayed his willingness to play for the Azzurri.
Banchero, 20, reserved the right to possibly confirm joining the Italy national team toward the end of the 2022-23 NBA Regular Season. His decision will depend on the team and individual situations deeper in his rookie campaign, he told the federation delegation.
FIP released a statement Tuesday noting the meeting following the Magic’s home game against the Milwaukee Bucks Monday. Representing the federation, general manager Salvatore Trainotti, head coach Pozzecco, and advisor Antonio Santa Maria talked to Banchero and his agent. They shared the working plan with the player and also met with Orlando Magic officials presenting the international schedule for the next offseason, highlighted by the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“I am happy with the talks we had in recent days and establishing an excellent relationship,” summed up Pozzecco, “Paolo is a great kid.”
The Seattle-born forward has been vocal about his intentions to play for Italy at the international level. The next potential opportunity is this summer with the World Cup in the Philippines, Japan, and Indonesia, from 25 August to 10 September.
Introducing himself to the NBA as the top pick of the 2022 draft, he averaged 21.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 0.8 steals, and 0.6 blocks per contest over his first 18 appearances.
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