Paolo Banchero accused of “treason” by the Italian president of basketball after his commitment to the American team

Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Paolo Banchero will play for Team USA in the upcoming FIBA ​​World Cup rather than Italy, much to Italy’s apparent surprise.

Two days after the Orlando Magic star reportedly signed up with the Americans, Italian basketball federation president Gianni Petrucci blasted him for misrepresenting his intentions while deciding which country he would play for .

Banchero was born and raised in the United States, but his father is Italian and he has an Italian passport, which allowed him to choose between Italy and the American team. Banchero said he intended to play for Italy last year.

According to a quote translated by Basketnews, Petrucci said Banchero didn’t even inform the Italians about the decision:

“It was a legitimate decision, but he could have called us to let us know. Instead, we learned of his decision from the newspapers,” Petrucci told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “The last 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 cheated on us, we were planning a nice business strategy for him. Now we have to turn this disappointment into positive energy, I’m sure our coach can do that,” added Petrucci.

The University of Washington – where Banchero’s mother is the women’s basketball team’s all-time leading scorer – might be able to identify with Italy, as the Huskies were once considered a favorite for Banchero’s services to the university until he took on a somewhat surprising commitment. to Duke.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 31: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic dribbles against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on March 31, 2023 in Washington, DC.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this photograph, user accepts the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

Paolo Banchero is one of many rising stars on the USA World Cup roster. (Photo by Jess Rapfogel/Getty Images)

Banchero, 20, is coming off a rookie of the year campaign that saw him 20.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field and 29 .3 from 3-point range for the 34-48 Magic.

Team USA nearly completes World Cup roster

With the addition of Banchero, Team USA has 11 of the 12 slots filled for its World Cup roster, which is due to begin on August 25.

These lists typically feature more Rising Stars than All-Stars, and that goes for the 2023 edition. Here’s the current list of commits:

  • Paolo Banchero, F, Orlando Magic

  • Mikal Bridges, Fa, Brooklyn Nets

  • Jalen Brunson, G, Detroit Pistons

  • Anthony Edwards, G, Minnesota Timberwolves

  • Tyrese Haliburton, G, Indiana Pacers

  • Brandon Ingram, F, New Orleans Pelicans

  • Jaren Jackson Jr., A/C, Memphis Grizzlies

  • Cam Johnson, F, Brooklyn Nets

  • Walker Kessler, C, Utah Jazz

  • Bobby Portis, F/C, Milwaukee Bucks

  • Austin Reaves, G, Los Angeles Lakers

Banchero expects to compete with Bridges and Jackson for a few minutes at power forward, one of the deepest positions on the team.

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