Andrea Bargnani’s Italian Coach Says He’s More Mature

by August 06, 2013

According to the associate coach of Italy’s national hoops team, Andrea Bargnani is a vastly more mature player and person now, which New York Knicks fans can only pray translates to great play next season. Per the NY Post: “Team Italy began training camp July 24 prepping for next month’s European Championships. ‘I think he’s more mature,’ Team Italy’s associate coach Mario Fioretti said. ‘He knows better how we need to play at a certain level for European basketball. He’s more aware of what he needs to do and is more wise. He’s more helpful this summer than that last summer [2011], is my feeling.’’ The Knicks hope Bargnani is more helpful this season than he was the last couple of years with the Raptors. Bargnani will get to face the music early and prove something to the Toronto fans: According to a Raptors source, the Knicks will visit AirCanada Centre for a preseason game in October. ‘I am 100 percent sure next year is going to be his year,’ Fioretti said. ‘He’s so happy about his new situation. He’s really happy to be in New York. Not anything against Toronto. The expectations are still there. He’s ready to take the challenge.’ Fioretti is more concerned with how Bargnani looks Sept. 4 when the European Championships commence in Slovenia. In the last European Championships, in 2011, Italy was bounced out in the first round and Bargnani wasn’t in the best shape. ‘He was serious two years ago, but didn’t realize how hard it was to play at this level in Europe — now he realizes,’ Fioretti said. ‘He really knows what we need from him, how he can be helpful on the floor. He got more aware in creating ball movement, player movement, being quicker setting picks, rolling, popping outside. I don’t think he was as good [in 2011].’ Bargnani is coming off his worst NBA season, reduced to 35 games because of a torn ligament in his right elbow and becoming the scapegoat for the fans. But the former No. 1 overall pick still has a 15.2-point career scoring average, and is a certifiable inside-outside threat. ‘My feeling is he already is an NBA star, he needed a different situation,’ said Fioretti, a longtime coach for Olympio Milano. ‘The only thing he needs is a club where he can express himself.'”