Betrayal of Paolo Panchero | Basketball | Sports

The betrayal was completed with eight points, five rebounds and two assists in the United States' victory over Italy (63-100) on Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup (Serbia beat Lithuania 68-87 in the other confrontation). Powerful striker Paolo Banchero contributed his muscle to Steve Kerr's team in a match that could have been played in the opposite jersey. From the Azzurra national team to the Stars and Stripes, from one national anthem to another, Banchero's role angered Italian fans when he decided in July to join the USA team and reject the European team that he had shown enthusiasm for.

Everything seemed ready for Banchero to wear blue at a major international event. Paolo Napoleon James Panchero was born 20 years ago in Seattle. He is a descendant of Italian immigrants on his father’s side. He obtained Trans-Alpine citizenship in 2020. He was close to participating with the European team in the Tokyo Olympics and coach Gianmarco Bozzico called him to the previous invitation to another EuroBasket, despite That he couldn't play it either. Boy number one was chosen Draft 2022 with the Orlando Magic and when he arrived in the NBA from Duke University, he posed for photos with his new team jersey and the green, white and red flag hugging him.

This World Cup seemed like the decisive step, and Italy was waiting for it with an open embrace. Until Banchero changed partners almost at the altar, a month and a half before the wedding. “He cheated us. We found out from the press. He didn't even contact us. We had a great business strategy about it. It's a betrayal,” the Italian Federation president said.

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Banchero had declared his love for the country of his relatives on his father's side. “Playing for the Azzurra is a source of pride for me because my family feels Italian. Now I have my passport and I can't wait to start. See you soon, Italy,” he said a few years ago.

Suddenly his desire changed as soon as the doors of the American team opened for this tournament. The team of her mother, Rhonda Smith, who was an international basketball player with the United States, won the 1997 FIBA ​​America's Cup. “There was a picture of her at that tournament in the basement of the house, where my room was. I saw her every day. It was my dream,” Banchero said. He is playing for the United States.”

At the last minute, the United States used the youngest player in its squad for this World Cup, and the best emerging player in the NBA this year, with 20 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists on average with Orlando. The 2.08m tall striker made his debut for the North American national team on August 8, in preparation for the tournament, leaving behind that flirtation with Italy. Is there any message for the Italian fans? They asked him before the quarter-finals. These love letters became one syllable: “No.”

Meanwhile, the quarterfinal matches are completed on Wednesday with duels between Germany and Latvia (10:45), from which the US semi-final opponent will be eliminated, and Canada and Slovenia (14:30), the winner of which will face Serbia.

The final stage of the Basketball World Cup.

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