So much for the term "friendly."
Recent Carleton grad Aaron Doornekamp was on the end of an inexcusable act by Italy's Stefano Mancinelli, who sucker-punched the former Raven with about 12 seconds left during Canada's game in Treviso on Saturday, causing the benches to clear. Striking another player is beyond the pale in basketball. As the clip shows, Doornekamp did not have enough time to raise his hands in self-defence.
(Update, 9 p.m. Aug. 3: Sun Media's Mike Koreen talked to Doornekamp for a follow-up, for any readers who are interested. The gist of it is that Doornekamp was not hurt and it was a chippy game.)
The Italian media reports, as best can be discerned from doing some Babelfishing, seemed to be saying Doornekamp elbowed Mancinelli. Apparently, it was a chippy game between the teams, who were playing for the second time in a week and the referees might have lost control of the contest. It is unclear if that reference to an elbow refers to a previous play or when the two came together when Doornekamp thrust out his arm after Mancinelli popped out to try and intercept a pass.
(Update: Coach Leo Rautins told Sun Media "It's all good ... no big deal" and added Doornekamp was uninjured. It was a lead item at sportsnet.ca.)
What a way to learn rissa is the Italian word for "brawl."
There is no illusion that Aaron Doornekamp is an angel on the court. It is hard to become a key cog in four national championship teams in five years while playing nice. Like any forward whom you would want on your basketball team, he plays with some edge, no quarter asked, none given. His style drove a lot of opponents to frustration over his five seasons with the Ravens. Perhaps this is a well, duh statement, but you know some knucklehead, perhaps a current CIS student-athlete, will say he had it coming. No one has that coming. Anyone who would say that needs to be disabused. Considering the damage a punch thrown by a 6-foot-8 man, it's fortunate there was not a serious injury.
As a larger story, this is kind of awkward. The Toronto Raptors' Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli play for Italy. Raptors TV analyst Leo Rautins is Canada's coach and Maurizio Gherardini is heavily involved with the senior men's national team.
Bargnani did try to play peacemaker. Canadian forward Jesse Young seemed very agitated and Bargnani put an arm around him and said something, which seemed to calm Young down. Former Carleton guard Ryan Bell can also be seen stepping in front of a teammate to keep him from getting involved. It was ugly and there likely will be some fallout. For now, the feeling should just be a sigh of relief it was not worse.
There is plenty of coverage from Italian media here, here, here, here and here.