«World Cup, high expectations. Bancaro with the US? We lose nothing»- Corriere.it

«World Cup, high expectations.  Bancaro with the US?  We lose nothing»- Corriere.it

Of Andrea Serene

The NBA, Salt Lake City and the Utah Jazz: the personal revolution of Simone Fontecchio, the small forward of blue basketball, who is preparing for the World Cup in August. "We want to get something important"

It wasn't easy. The very high level of a challenge like the NBA. But also yet another personal revolution. Move his wife Rosa and little Bianca, who in a few years spent with him from Reggio Emilia, Berlin, Vitoria. Now Salt Lake City. Too important a call, the Utah Jazz, for someone who grew up with a Michael Jordan poster in their room. Simon Fontecchio is in Italy for the holidays, short, before returning to work in view of World
. Which comes from an NBA player.

Fontecchio, how was your first year in the United States?

«It was tough, especially at the beginning. Embrace a new culture, different habits, another place to live. But it's also nice to offer this opportunity to my daughter, who has already lived in three different countries at the age of four, she understands you and speaks three languages ​​».

Happy with your season?
«Yes, the balance is positive. I feel more aware, I'm ready for next year. I knew there would be obstacles, but I was mentally prepared to overcome them. After a while I understood what the coach wanted from me: when you have a specialist role in the NBA you have to limit yourself to doing what the team needs».

In his case, shooting from three. Would you like to go further?
«If you want to stay in a certain context, you have to accept the role they assign you, at least until you reach a status that allows you to show that there's more in your luggage. I think I can do many things: even the Jazz know it, but I have to know how to respect the times».

What differences did you find with European basketball?
“Athleticism, pace, speed. But after a while you get used to it.'

He still has one year left on his contract with Utah. Does he want to play for the title, maybe in another franchise?

«No, I would like to stay in the Jazz. The prospects are excellent, we have built well. And I think it might be important right now in my life to be in the same place two seasons in a row. It is a need that we feel as a family, to remain still, to have the same people around us. Then anything can happen in the NBA. Should they exchange me, we will take note of it ».

The player who impressed you the most?
“Joel Embiid, definitely. He is monstrous, a points machine: he scored 60 for us in a single game. He deservedly won the MVP title ».

Against the Lakers he found himself guarding LeBron James.
"Oh, I remember it well. He was very demanding ».

Jokic drags the Nuggets to the title and then races to Serbia from his horses.

«Nikola is clear what he likes in life, what he wants. I appreciate how he manages to separate the work from the rest. Then every now and then some statements about the NBA world are a bit shocking. But he's really like that, he's not pretending.'

What do you expect from Wembanyama, first pick in the Draft?
«When I played against him in the Euroleague with Baskonia, I was very impressed by how much he improved between the first leg and the second leg. I'm curious to see what impact it will have on the NBA. It sure happened to be a perfect franchise for him (the San Antonio Spurs, ed), used to having international players».

National Chapter, in August there are the World Cup.
«After the quarter-finals of the last European Championship, expectations have risen. The group (

with Angola, the Philippines and the Dominican Republic, ed

) it is affordable, but the games must be played with humility and above all they must be won. We are aware that we have our weapons, we know that we can embarrass our opponents with our small set-up».

«There are many strong teams, such as the USA, Spain, France, Canada. The first step is to get to the quarterfinals, but we want to take something important. Then in these competitions you have to feel good at the right time and you always need a little luck».

You will not have Banchero, who has chosen to play with the United States.
“I thought it would end like this. We don't lose anything: whoever comes to the national team must have something inside, be aware of what it means to wear the blue shirt. It is a responsibility and an honor. I'm happy with our team."

Could Banchero have handled the affair differently?
«Surely it could have been clearer, but I don't want to put the boy on trial. The statements that challenge him he made when he was 18 years old, he was very young. We are facing a great talent, the federation did well to try to bring him to the blue. But enough talking about it now, this story is boring».

The next dream to realize?
«Win something with the national team. A goal more than a dream. Already participating in the Olympics again next year would be incredible, also because in this way I could beat my father who has only competed in one. And I hope to have a long career in the NBA."

And become an All Star?

"Let's see, one step at a time."

July 20, 2023 (change July 20, 2023 | 07:18)

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