Datome: “Banchero made his choice, we don’t have to treat him like a traitor”

2023-06-24T18:59:19+00:00 2023-06-24T19:11:30+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

24/Jun/23 18:59


Experienced Italian player Luigi Datome commented on Paolo Banchero’s reported decision to play for Team USA

By Cesare Milanti / info@eurohoops.net

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Paolo Banchero has committed to playing for Team USA at the upcoming FIBA World Cup, despite Italy’s hopes of having him represent the Azzurri in the future.

Long-time Italian international, Luigi Datome, commented on Banchero’s decision.

He made his choice, and it’s okay to try. We don’t have to treat him like a traitor. Everybody has their own path.”

The 35-year-old forward has been a part of the Italian national team since EuroBasket 2007 and could have been a valuable asset for Italy at the upcoming World Cup.

I need to discuss things with Pozzecco, and together we will make the right choice for Italy,Datome added.

Italy’s national team is placed in Group A at the 2023 FIBA World Cup alongside Angola, the Dominican Republic, and the hosts, the Philippines.

A great Italian hope shuttered

Per FIBA rules, Banchero having both nationalities was eligible to play in the US national team or in the Italian national team. However after he made his choice, he can’t change teams again.

For the past few years, the Italian basketball federation was hoping that Banchero will be part of the team, and speaking in the past about playing for Italy, he left the door wide open.

As he said last November“I saw that they qualified for the World Cup. It’s a huge achievement and I’m very happy about it. The fact that all of you look up to me makes me feel grateful. Having so many fans and being contacted on social media is absolutely exciting. You guys are showing love and support constantly: it really urges me to move on”.

However, things changed after his rookie-of-the-year first NBA season and the US federation approached him, asking him to join the US team. Back in April, he admitted that the US was an option for him.