By Jeff Taylor
|Marco Carraretto has won almost everything he hoped for at club level but has still to play at a EuroBasket, eight years after he came so close to be in Italy's bronze-medal winning side in Sweden|
Marco Carraretto is a four-time Italian Lega A champion with Montepaschi Siena.
With Siena, he has also won the Coppa Italia and played at the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four.
Yet Carraretto has yet to fulfill an aim that is very important to him.
He has yet to compete with Italy at a major international tournament and the window of opportunity for the 33-year-old is closing fast.
A member of the Italy squad that competed in Division A last year under Simone Pianigiani, guard Carraretto averaged more than 21 minutes per contest in eight games.
Yet he knows competition for spots in this summer's squad is going to be fierce.
"For me to play at the EuroBasket would give me great pride as it would be my first major tournament with the national team," Carraretto said to Basketball World News.
"To play for Italy is a reward for any player based on the work he has done throughout the year.
"If I am selected, it would be further acknowledgement from Pianigiani on me.
"We will see what happens."
Carraretto, who has made 54 appearances for Italy's senior team, did come close to putting on the Azzurri shirt at a EuroBasket once before.
Eight years ago, he travelled to Sweden and was on the verge of playing for the national side but Carlo Recalcati opted for Alex Righetti and Matteo Soragna at the last minute when they recovered from injuries.
Carraretto actually left Sweden the day the tournament started and Italy went on to capture the bronze medal.
|Carraretto knows Simone Pianigiani, the head coach of Montepaschi Siena and Italy, perfectly well and has complete faith in his abilities to lead the Azzurri in Lithuania|
They followed that up with a silver the following year at the Athens Olympics.
Pianigiani And Carraretto
If anyone knows how the sharp-shooting Carraretto can help the Italians, it's Pianigiani.
That's because he is his club coach at Montepaschi, where Carraretto has played since 2006.
The Treviso-born Carraretto has been there for every step of the way as Pianigiani has established himself as one of the top coaches in Europe.
"Simone Pianigiani is a great professional," Carraretto said.
"He tries to teach us and show us what is perfection in basketball.
"He gives us the best guidance to face any type of rival and to give our best on the court.
"I have worked under him for five years and I have obtained great success with him.
"I can only speak well of him."
Carraretto marvels at the work ethic of his boss.
"Pianigiani never stops, he only looks forward to the next game, the next challenge, and once the play-offs are over, he will submerge himself into preparing the national team for the EuroBasket in Lithuania," Carraretto said.
"I´m certain he will bring all of his experience and his energy to try to do well with the national team."
At the 24-team EuroBasket in Lithuania, Italy will compete in Group B with Serbia, Israel, Latvia, France and Germany.
For the record, Carraretto has won league titles with Montepaschi in 2007, '08, '09 and '10, Italian Supercups in 2007, '08, '09 and '10 the Coppa Italia in 2009, '10 and '11.