U18 European Championship
|Italy center Amedeo Tessitori, now with the U18 team, during last year's U16 European Championship game against Serbia|
The signs have been very encouraging of late for Italy coach Stephen Bizzozi ahead of this summer's U18 European Championship in Poland.
Bizzozi's charges won the Villagarcia International Tournament in Spain last week thanks to two victories in their three games.
The Italians beat the hosts, 72-64, and routed Germany 72-53 to clinch the tournament triumph.
They lost on the last day to France, 78-73.
"Naturally we are very happy for the win because at the U18 level, it's never easy," Bizzozi said.
"The thing, however, for which I am most happy about is the attitude of the boys, who fought from start to finish and showed a great attachment to a shirt and a great passion.
"A positive sign was the confidence and motivation gained as the tournament went on.
"In the last two games the squad, which is still considered open, was being formed."
Even in defeat to the French, Bizzozi saw positives.
"The game against France I can say with certainty that the boys have really put everything into it, showing no signs of relaxation despite already knowing about having won the tournament."
Matteo Chillo played in the Italy side that finished ninth at last year's U18 European Championship in Vilnius and is battling for a spot in this summer's squad.
He had 12 points against the French.
Among those who took part in last year's U16 European Championship that are trying to make this year's team and took part in last week's tournament are center Amedeo Tessitori and Francesco Candussi.
Amedeo Della Valle was one of the best players in the event.
The 1.92m Fastweb Casale Monferrato guard had 22 points in the victory over Spain, 21 in the triumph over Germany and 18 in the loss to the French.
In the game against Germany, Della Valle buried five of eight shots from long range.