Ciuff – I Giganti della Pallacanestro

Travis Diener interview

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Travis Diener, american point guard, 6'1'', 31 years old, answered few questions about this last season in Italy and about his future.
He has just received the italian passport too, so this summer he might join the italian national team coached by Simone Pianigiani, for this summer European Championship.  In his past, he reached a Ncaa Final Four with Marquette University in 2003 (in his last year there, 19.7 points and 7 assist per game), with teammates as Dwyane Wade and Steve Novak, and he also played a lot of years in the Nba, most of them spent with Indiana Pacers and Portland Trail Blazers (in the 2007/08 season, 7 points and 4 assist in 20 minutes per game).
He is a true point guard, one of the players who he's repentinely capable to switch on the light of the game and fire up every teammate, in his last season in Dinamo Sassari he averaged 17 points and 8 assist per game. AlaDiener, as people like to call him in Sassari, is a real outstanding player, with a deep inside vision of the game and an unbelievable "basketball I.Q.", really good jump and 3 point shoot, in which he can variate in fade away and step back too. He is a true baller, excellent in creating his own shoot , driving his path to the basket and also assisting his teammates.
Here you are the interview:
1) You arrived in Italy 3 years ago. Which was you first thought when you saw italian basketball courts and arenas, after all the years you played in the Nba?

The Italian arenas are smaller than the ones in the NBA. In the NBA a lot of money is spent on these arenas so they are bigger and better. The fans in Italy and throughout Europe are very passionate about basketball.

2) Then you played in Sassari for 3 years! Which is your best moment there on the court and which one in your overall experience in Sassari?

There have been so many great moments. We have won so many games, so many buzzer-beaters. It is hard for me to pick only one moment. Making the playoffs every year is something I am really proud of. My overall experience in Sassari has been wonderful. People here have treated us so great. This city and this island is special.

3) How do you value your team last season and your personal one?

We had a great season. 22 wins. It was disappointing to lose in the first round against Cantu but we had a great season. The most wins in the history of Dinamo.

4) This year you played in the european cup too. How do you consider italian basketball level compared with the other european leagues? Are there any Nba prospect in our league, in your opinion?

I think the Italian league is very competitive and one of the best leagues in the world. The Spanish league is very good as well. I think Gigi Datome could play in the NBA next year. He had an outstanding season and is a terrific player.

5) You played at a really high level at Marquette and in the Nba. What is your favorite moment at that time? Who's the best one you played with and the strongest one you played against?

My favorite moment at Marquette was reaching the Final Four in 2003. Getting drafted in 2005 to play in the NBA is something that I will never forget. The best player I have played with is Dwyane Wade. I also had the chance to play with Dwight Howard, he is outstanding as well. The best player I played against was Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. The best point guard I played against was Chris Paul.

6) Now you got the italian passport! Will you be available for the national team for this summer, if coach Pianigiani calls you? In this eventuality, for you, what target the italian team could shoot for?

I will wait for the call. It is unfortunate that Danilo Gallinari hurt his knee. He is an outstanding player. I don't know what the goals will be for the Italian National Team.

7) This passport gives you a lot of chances. Now a lot of teams wants you as their point guard. Are there any possibilities for you to stay in Sassari next year again??

I have no idea where I will play next year. That process starts at the end of June and early July. There is always a possibility that I stay in Sassari. I just don't know yet.

Andrea Di Vita

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