Basketball: Doornekamp on the Italian job

Canadian national team forward Aaron Doornekamp was kind enough to do an interview this afternoon from Puerto Rico about his signing with Eldo Caserta in Italy's Serie A. Here's the quotes for the blog audience, some which will should get into tomorrow's Ottawa Sun.

(Small world, by the way. Canadian national team alumnus Phil Martin, a former guard at Hawai'i, also plays for Caserta.)
  • On the help from Canada Basketball's Italian connection (coach Leo Rautins played there, while the team's brain trust includes assistant coach Renato Pasquali and Raptors VP: "(Rautins) was the first person who told me, 'if you can get to Italy, get to Italy, it's a great place to live and it's a great exposure spot.' When it came up, he was really high on it. They (Caserta) got hold of my assistant coach, Renato Pasquali. The adviser from the Raptors, Maurizio Gherardini, was also there. I didn't talk to him at length on the phone, but I feel like he had a hand in a lot of stuff."

  • On making the leap from Canadian university: "It’s a great opportunity in my first year out of school – I just had to jump at it."

  • On how Pasquali has affected Team Canada: "It's been a pretty big eye-opener working with him, in terms how things are done. It's a bit of a shock to the system. In practice, he won't let us dribble more than twice. He's shown us a lot footwork-wise, because there almost everything is a travel (call)."

  • On the role Canada Basketball's July tour of Italy played in being signed: "I think the trip helped all of us just because we won. We played six games over there, went 4-2 and only lost to Italy. They only pay attention to you if you win. (Forward) Jesse Young got a job out of it too."

  • On how the team culture at Carleton helped: "Without going to Carleton, I would not be nearly as prepared. The overall atmopshere Dave has, either in or you're out, most guys commit to getting better every day. I believe we had four players average 10 points a game last season (they did). It's not so much pass to one guy and watch. It's not like the NBA, where one guy facilitates everything. More of a team concept, everyone can score. It prepares you a lot more."

  • Outlook with national team: "We were relatively happy with how we did in Italy. I think we're playing pretty well as a team. We'll see next week how we play against North American-style teams, such as Puerto Rico (which Canada plays Tuesday at the Tuto Marchand Cup in San Juan). It seems like we're moving toward a more European style of play, which helps our cause. Almost everyone on our (national) team except (Miami Heat centre) Joel Anthony plays in Europe, which is what they want.

    "That was one of the better trips, in terms of the team being together ... We beat Turkey, which is apparently pretty big, one of the top teams and they are hosting the worlds. We feel like we turned the page. We didn't have any games where we went from bad to worse. We had a few where we battled through."

Following its game Aug. 18 vs. Puerto Rico, Canada plays Argentina Aug. 19 and Brazil the following day at the Tuto tourney. I'll be on vacay in Newfoundland, but others will be keeping close eye.
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