By Ryan McNeill
Last week I had the pleasure of talking with Carlo Recalcati who is the head coach of the Italian National team. Despite a busy schedule he provided me with 30 minutes of his time to talk about some of his experiences as a head coach. During our chat we talked about what it’s meant to his national program and country to have Andrea Bargnani drafted by the Toronto Raptors with the top pick, his experience of coaching the Italian National team to a Silver medal at the 2004 Olympics and how is preparing his team for the Olympic qualifier this summer.
I was able to ask Carlo the following questions:
* You had tremendous success as a player as you have won the Italian National League, the Saporta Cup, the Korac Cup, the Intercontinental Cup, bronze medals at European Championship and you have won the silver medal at the 1967 Mediterranean Games. How have your experiences as a player helped to mold you into the coach you are today?
* You are someone who knows what it’s like to play and coach in big games. Is it more stressful to play or coach in a big game?
* What motivated you to get into coaching when your playing career finished?
* Who are some coaches that have served as mentors to you?
* In an article for FIBA Europe you were quoted as saying, “if we want to reach the podium again, our team ethic has to be stronger than the others.” As a coach, how do you instill a strong work ethic in your players?
* Can you tell listeners about some of your memories from guiding the Italian National team to a bronze medal at the 2003 Europeans?
* Can you tell listeners about some of your memories from guiding the Italian National team to a silver medal in the 2004 Olympics?
* This past summer you gave Andrea the summer off to prepare for his first season in the NBA. When will he be rejoining the Italian National Team?
* A former player of yours on the Italian National team, Andrea Bargnani, was recently the top pick in the NBA Draft and is enjoying a solid rookie season with the Toronto Raptors. Can you tell listeners about what it’s like to see a former player go on to have success in the NBA.
* Some European players, like Dirk Nowitzki, have enjoyed success coming to the NBA in their late teens while other players, like Nikoloz Tskitishvili, played for 5 NBA teams before returning to Europe at age 23 to rebuild his basketball career. What are your thoughts on players leaving Europe in their late teens to play in the NBA?
* What do you feel the ideal age is for players to start playing pro ball?
* Do you think teens playing pro ball is beneficial or hinders their development?
* What did you find to be the most challenging aspect of coaching basketball in Italy where your top players leave to play in the NBA?
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