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Danilo Gallinari back playing competitive basketball for Italy with Olympic Qualifying Tournament on tap

Harrison Wind Avatar
June 19, 2016

 

Danilo Gallinari played competitive basketball Friday for the first time since he tore two lateral ligaments and sprained another in his right ankle that prematurely ended his NBA season last February.

The Italian national team, led by San Antonio Spurs assistant and legendary European coach Ettore Messina, is currently playing a number of exhibition contests leading up to the Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT) which begins play July 4 against Tunisia. Greece and Croatia figure to be Italy’s strongest challenger in the OQT with the winner earning a spot at the Rio Olympics beginning August 5.

Gallinari played almost 16 minutes in Italy’s 78-48 win over the Czech Republic Friday and finished with just four points on 1-5 shooting. In Saturday’s win over China, Gallinari fared better, finishing with 17 points on 2-4 shooting from three, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals in 22 minutes.

(Credit: FIBA)
(Gallinari’s shot chart against China, Credit: FIBA)

On a side note, 7-foot-2 Chinese prospect Zhou Qi, who declared for Thursday’s draft and is a projected late first or early second-round pick, scored six points in 20 minutes against Italy and nine points on 3-8 shooting in 30 minutes versus Turkey on Friday.

Italy will also take part in the Bologna Basketball Tournament with the Philippines, Canada, and China in late June and will also play in Biella, Italy against Puerto Rico before the OQT begins on July 4.

Gallinari is healthy again and hoping he can lead Italy back to the Olympics in August. Credit: Italia Basketball
Gallinari is healthy again and hoping he can lead Italy back to the Olympics in August.
Credit: Italia Basketball

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