ITA - Travis Diener gets closer to Italian NT
SASSARI (Lega A/EuroBasket) - Travis Diener is still waiting for his Italian citizenship, but week after week it is getting easier to consider the former NBA point-guard as an available player for the Italian national team at the next EuroBasket.
The 30-year old point-guard is from Fond-du-Lac, Wisconsin, but married an American woman, Rosamaria, with Italian parents. And at his third season starring with Banco Sardegna Sassari in Italy's Lega A, his long way to the Italian passport looks almost complete.
Last Saturday, during his first Board after being appointed as the Italian Federation president, Giovanni Petrucci confirmed how Diener's naturalization process is going quickly, and how his Italian passport is close.
It wasn't the only message about the national team, as on March 1st, Petrucci will hold a press conference in Siena with the national team's coach Simone Pianigiani, and on March 18th, the president will be in Chicago in order to attend the game between the Chicago Bulls (Marco Belinelli) and the Denver Nuggets (Danilo Gallinari).
The same Diener looks optimistic about his future with Italy. Despite he is still waiting to know when he will exactly receive his citizenship, he made clear he is willing to play with the Azzurri squad.
“A lot of things can still happen, with four months to go in the season. But my intention is clear: I would be pleased to be part of the Italian national team at the next EuroBasket. Physically, I hadn't been feeling so well for years, and I would be excited to play with three excellent NBA players like Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors), Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari”.
And beside them, Diener – the current Serie A's best passer with 7.8 assists per game - also refers to the players starring in Lega A, who competed – beside Gallinari - in last summer's succesful campaign, with a 8-0 record in the EuroBasket Qualifying Round.
“Luigi Datome, Pietro Aradori and Daniel Hackett proved their worth in Italy but also in Europe and they can be further major contributors. I love playing basketball, and being part of such a talented team would be definitely a fantastic experience”.
“And I can admit that I also love hearing the expectations around me growing up, day after day” said Diener, eager to play with Sassari the Italian Cup Final Eight in Milan, from next Thursday to Sunday.