By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
“This is a big party for all the people who love this game. How can I not be excited to be here?”, admitted Hugo Sconochini when we bumped on him in Mercedes Benz Arena, where the 2016 Final Four tournament was held in the last weekend.
Back in 1998, Sconochini won the Euroleague with Virtus Bologna. A fantastic team, in which the Argentinian-Italian had players like Zoran Savic, Sasa Danilovic and Antoine Rigaudeu as his teammates, in a squad that was working to perfection under the guidance of Ettore Messina. But this is now history of seasons past, since the club has just been relegated in second division for the first time: “It is difficult to understand what they club has been doing all these years” commented Sconochini to Eurohoops “They have been having many problems for years. Not just now that relegation came. They had financial problems, organization problems. This is life.” Will Virtus Bologna be able restore a part of its former glory? “Sometimes to be reborn again, you must hit bottom”, he believes.
With Argentina, Hugo Schonocini has been crowned Olympic champion in Athens, 2004, while winning silver medal in the World Championship of 2002. For many players that starred during the “golden age” of Argentinian basketball back then, like Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola or Anders Nocioni, the upcoming Olympic Games in Rio might be the last performance, the last show that they will give together. “I think so too. It’s natural. They start becoming old players”. Old but still rocking hard. “Of course. But you know… to play this game, you need the right legs. Fast legs. You need to have ‘motors’, if you get what I mean. Be like an engine. Of course they are big players. I think this is their last big tournament and perhaps the right moment to say.. ‘farewell'”. And how far can team Argentina can go in the Olympics? “It is difficult. Of course the team will give 100% in its efforts. But at this moment, the national team doesn’t have the level to fight for a medal. I hope that I am wrong of course”.