After a significant courtship, former Duke star Paolo Banchero ultimately decided to play for Team USA. Understandably perhaps, not everyone affiliated with the Italian side is happy with his decision.
Italian Basketball Federation president Gianni Petrucci made his feelings known and he didn’t really hold back: “It was a legitimate decision, but he could have made a call to communicate that to us. Instead, we learned about his decision from the newspapers. In the past few days, he was in Milan, and despite our agreements with his agency, he avoided the meeting with coach Pozzecco. Betrayal, especially in basketball, is a strong word. Situations like this happen, and personally, I’m used to it. But he fooled us, we were planning a great commercial strategy for him. Now we need to turn this disappointment into positive energy, I’m sure our coach will be able to do it.”
It makes what Luigi Datome said sound much better. The longtime Italian team member said this after 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.”
Nicely put, Luigi. Mario would be proud.