|15 July 2012|
|Although he is his team's second leading scorer, Marco Ceron is characterised by a team-first attitude|
By Simonas Baranauskas
Marco Ceron knows a thing or two about winning, having been part of Italy's silver medal-winning squad in last year's U20 European Championship in Bilbao.
However, his second experience at the U20 competition, in Slovenia, is very different both when it comes to the overall expectations for the team and his personal role within the roster.
"We're a mediocre team this year. We just go out on the court and we play. There is no pressure," said the 20-year-old from the small Italian town of Mirano in the country's north.
"We're just taking things day-by-day."
Even though expectations are not high for the Italians in general, this year a lot more rests on Ceron's shoulders.
Together with Andrea Traini, they're the only two players with experience of playing at this level.
Ceron didn't play much of a role in last year's team, averaging only 1.5 points and 1.0 rebounds per game during the four games he did step on the court.
This year however with Alessandro Gentile - the team's leader and an All-Tournament Team member in 2011 - unable to help the Italians due to a shoulder injury, the 1.92m guard has became the first scoring option from the wings for the Azzurri.
During the three games of the First Round, Ceron averaged 13.3 points and 2.3 rebounds, ranking ninth in the tournament overall in three-point field goals made, with 2.0 per game.
THE BLUE-COLLAR SCORER
It was the sharpshooter's magic from beyond the arc that sunk Lithuania on day two to give Italy their first victory in Group D action in Domzale and the control of their destiny.
Ceron made 6-of-12 three-pointers and collected a total of 29 points, as the Italians took an 89-82 victory against one of the tournament favourites, but the Italian guard refused to keep the accolades only for himself.
"We're always all together. If we lose, we lose together, if we play bad, we play bad together, and when things go well, we win as a team," the player said after the win, with a huge smile giving away how proud he actually was.
"This Lithuanian generation had won the U16 and U18 European Championship and the U19 World Championship, so this win was really big for us."
Although Ceron's main duties are at the offensive end, the sharpshooter made it clear that defence is the most important feature of this Italian squad.
"Defence is the most important part of the game for us, because if we get stops, we're able to run and get easy baskets," the rising star desctibed his team's style.
"We're good when we're playing free basketball - we need to run and shoot."
Italy then went on to defeat Sweden in their third game in Group D and secured a place in the Second Round.
They are entering the next stage on Nonday with a 1-1 record and a fighting chance to make the Quarter-Finals.
Not bad at all for a 'mediocre' team under no pressure to succeed, as Ceron puts it.