By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Marco Belinelli opted to recover after a demanding 2020-21 season with Virtus Segafredo Bologna rather than helping Italy in the approaching Olympic Qualifying Tournament. He explained his decision promising he will be back for the national team of his country in the future.
“Unfortunately, this summer I will not be part of the national team,” he noted, per the press release of the Italian Basketball Federation, FIP, “This season was very physically demanding for me. I arrived at Bologna in December after the training camp, which for us plays is a fundamental part of the season. I worked hard for the team and retrieve match fitness. I pushed forward on multiple occasions. This led me to finish the season with several issues, especially on my legs. I have to stop for a while and then resume with a plan to be at 100% in September. I spoke to President Gianni Petrucci. He knows this isn’t a goodbye. My commitment to the national team has always been strong. I will support my boys in every way during the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.”
Belinelli, 35, made his way back to Europe this season following 925 appearances in the NBA since 2007. He signed a three-year contract with Virtus Bologna.
The experienced swingman posted 17.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per 7DAYS EuroCup game up to the elimination by UNICS Kazan in the semifinals. He averaged 14.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per LBA contest helping his side capture the domestic title for the first time since 2001.
Italy is set to compete for an Olympic Games berth at Belgrade from June 29 to July 4. Host Serbia, Dominican Republic, Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Senegal have the same goal.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL