|Italy coach Simone Pianigiani can count at the EuroBasket with Andrea Bargnani, Danilo Gallinari and Marco Belinelli, who is coming from a moral-boosting season in the NBA|
Marco Belinelli is going into this summer with Italy's national team feeling better than ever about his game, and his future.
Just 25 years of age, the former Fortitudo Bologna star put three disappointing NBA seasons behind him and averaged a career-high 24.5 minutes and 10.4 points in 80 games with the New Orleans Hornets.
"This was an important year for me and it has been a positive campaign," Belinelli said.
"I have played and I have achieved my aim, which was to reach the play-offs."
After two disappointing seasons with Golden State and another one in Toronto, Belinelli joined the Hornets and immediately gained the trust of coach Monte Williams.
He started 69 games and shot 41.4% from three-point range.
"I have never given up and worked hard," Belinelli said.
"This year, people have believed in me and this has been the difference between this year and previous seasons.
"I am happy at New Orleans and I hope I will remain there."
Now Italy are hoping to benefit.
Belinelli will wear the Azzurri shirt this summer in Lithuania when the Italians play against Serbia, Israel, Latvia and Germany in Group B, in the second EuroBasket of his career.
Toronto's Andrea Bargnani and Denver's Danilo Gallinari will also be in the Italian squad.
"I think the presence in the national team of three NBA players is fantastic," Belinelli said, "without forgetting the other players in the national team.
"We will have to build the group.
"Last summer, that was crucial.
"The foundation is there.
"We have to work together so that things always go better.
"I hope I can help the team."