Ciao Roma! BWB Europe 2014 Tips Off
The top 50 young players from 25 countries across Europe converged on the Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy in Rome today as the 13th edition of Basketball without Borders Europe 2014 tipped off.
The day began with a welcome press conference which included speeches from Antonio Capelli, President, Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy; Luca Pancalli, the Sports Assessor from Comune di Roma; Gaetano LaGuardia, Vice President Italian Basketball Federation; Simone Pianigiani, Italian National Team Head Coach and Brooks Meek, NBA Vice President, International Basketball Operations.
Italy has played an important part in the history of BWB; the very first BWB Europe camp took place in Italy in Treviso back in 2001, with the city hosting further camps in 2003, 2004 and 2005. What makes this year’s event even more significant is that Andrea Bargnani (New York Knicks), Gigi Datome (Detoit Pistons) and Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets) were all participants themselves in 2003 Their return today as fully fledged NBA players proved an inspiration to the young kids who were assembled for the start of camp. Indeed the NBA’s fourth Italian player – San Antonio Spurs forward Marco Belinelli – was also a camper in 2003 and was due to attend BWB were it not for the small matter of the NBA Finals…
Joining the Italian trio as coaches is the Atlanta Hawks Al Horford, Brandon Knight of the Milwaukee Bucks and former players Vlad Radmanovic and Hanno Mottola. Completing the coaching staff is Ron Adams (Boston Celtics), Darvin Ham (Atlanta Hawks), former Orlando Head Coach Brian Hill, Melvin Hunt (Denver Nuggets) former two-time Executive of the Year Bryan Colangelo. President of the FIBA World Association of Basketball Coaches Patrick Hunt rounded off the coaches.
Following the press Conference, the campers were divided up into groups to begin the first of the daily Skills Stations, based on the key fundamentals of the game. This was followed by a series of scrimmages which gave the coaches the chance to evaluate the talent at hand.
Running concurrently, the 25 top girls from Italy were being put through their paces in two sessions that focused on basketball fundamentals.
The day ended on a high with a Special Olympics Clinic featuring over 40 athletes who enjoyed learning a range of basketball skills in the company of the NBA players and coaches.