Alternate title: One if by land, two if by sea, three if Alex Marcotullio is trying out for the Great Britain U-20 basketball team because he pretty much only shoots threes.
Oh, and because the opening game of the World Cup is three days away: BRITAIN SUCKS. MORE LIKE THE MAGNA FARTA, AMIRIGHT
But nevermind the bollocks, here's the post.
The international basketball circuit, for those of you wondering, is sort of silly. The one thing that makes sense is this: in your lifetime, you can only play for one nation. However, which nation that is is pretty much 100 percent up for grabs. Having a parent from a country - like the American-born Joakim Noah with France - qualifies you to play for that country. Having a grandparent from a country - like the American-born and raised Chris Kaman with Germany - qualifies you to play for that country. Moving to a country - like the Jamaican-born Patrick Ewing or Nigerian-born Hakeem Olajuwon with the USA - qualifies you to play for that country. And picking up a passport qualifies you to play for that country, which is why ShamSports can keep you constantly updated on how very, very American players such as straight up black dudes Quinton Hosley and Taurean Green can acquire Georgian citizenship, just because the Georgian national team needs players. Russia won the 2007 Eurocup in large part due to the play not of NBAers like Andrei Kirilenko, but thanks to an obscure point guard named JR Holden, whose pinnacle in the states was playing at Bucknell at the mid-90's, but managed to become prominent enough in Russian ball that he ended up with the ball in his hands at the buzzer of a major international basketball competition - and drained it, giving Russia the victory, even though he's not Russian in the slightest.
Point being, in the sport of international basketball, never get caught off guard. Which is why it came as no surprise to me when I read some weird nonsense like Alex Marcotullio was using his maternal grandfather's Scottish ancestry to try out for the Great Britain U-20 team.
Let's sip on some tea and crumpets after the break.
First off: really, Alex? You're more British than Italian? Could've fooled me.
Secondly, this is phenomenal. John Shurna was asked to play a prominent role last summer for the USA U-19 team; he came back a fantastically improved scorer. Marcotullio looked pretty comfortable gunning from three last year, but to call him a two-dimensional player is an affront to dimensions. I'd love to see him put in situations where he's not comfortable, like starting point guard for a British team that shouldn't feature much depth.
You see, the British Isles don't have much in the way of basketball tradition. Yes, there have been a smattering of British basketball players over the years, but two things: first off, most of these players, like Marcotullio, aren't really British: for example, Luol Deng (who's quite good) Michael Olowokandi (tee-hee) and John Amaechi (yes, the gay one) represented Britain, but none were born in the UK, leading me to believe they're big on scouting. Secondly, good players born in England - like Ben Gordon and Kelenna Azubuke - have a tendency to move stateside and never ever play for the British national team. The only noteworthy British-born player to play for a British national team of recent years is my personal favorite player in the world, Pops Mensah-Bonsu.(I LOVE POPS MENSAH-BONSU.)
This leaves, err, a lack of prestigious British national teams, and I bet this extends to the U20 team. Indeed, the tournament they're playing in next month is in the "B" division of European basketball - yes, they have divisions to seperate the good countries from the bad countries - where they'll play such powerhouses as Macedonia and Bulgaria. And if you look at the roster they invited to training camp, all but four of the players don't play collegiately in the US. Point being, it's weak competition.
Marcotullio can rise above them, and hopefully this gives him a chance to work on some stuff that's harder to pick up playing against guys that are better than you. A player can improve their shooting all day long by going to Blomquist Gym and shooting all day, but they're not going to learn how to play point guard unless they play basketball, and it's not a good idea to let Alex Marcotullio learn to play point guard by throwing him up against Big Ten competition, so, this is sort of perfect. It's a chance for him to learn the flow of the game.
Of course, I said the same thing about Kyle Rowley last year, and he didn't get off the bench much for the T and T, so, that was a lost cause. But I stand by my statement about Marcy Marc's game. I expect him to earn a spot on the squad and get some serious tick, and hopefully he comes back next fall a more complete player, and of course, a gentleman, capable of making a double oxford tie and able to identify which one is the salad fork, because that's pretty much England in a nutshell, right?