The photo is impressive in itself. Too many current figures and legends who are from Cordoba or left their mark on basketball in the province -and the country, of course-, especially in the famous Athens of Cordoba, the most winning club in the history of national basketball.
On the one hand, three of our four NBA at the moment, all from Cordoba: Facundo Campazzo (his contract with the Nuggets ended), Leandro Bolmaro Y Paul Prigioni (both at Minnesota Wolves, one as a player and the other as the main assistant). On the other, the great Ruben Magnano, brilliant DT of the best Athens and architect of the Golden Generation -Olympic champion in 2004 and world runner-up in 2002-, today as coach of the Uruguayan national team. And, in the middle, countless figures, like Pichi Bell –one of the three most important players in the history of the National League-, Leander Palladino –former national team, now player agent-, luke victorian -another world runner-up, today Institute DT in the LNB-, louis villar –Pivot wing of the National Team between 1987 and 1997, currently a representative-, Facundo Sucatzky –one of the best point guards ever in the LNB, DT of individual technique-, Mario Milanese -brother of Marcelo, great shooter of the 80s and current DT- and Paul Albertinazzi -former League point guard, until recently working as an NBA scout, the party responsible for the signing of Luca Vildoza with the Bucks-.
But, of course, this is the main photo, but not the only one (see gallery). Because there were other notables who were at the great barbecue that was organized on Tuesday night at the bar (Vidón) that Facu Campazzo, his brother and his friends have in Alta Córdoba. Like high school players Tayavek Gallizzi, Nicholas Romano –both members of the selected in the last windows- and Nicholas Copello, the assistant and PF of the Glory. They had all arrived a few hours ago from Corrientes, where they beat Regatas and got into the semifinals of the League. A couple took their parents, such as Bolmaro and Campazzo, others their children -such as Sucaztky, Villar and Albertinazzi, for example- and some chose friends -Bolmaro- or brothers -Facu-. There were notable absences, within a province with a long basketball tradition, such as Fabricio Oberto and Marcelo Milanesio, on a trip to Punta del Este. “Marcelo wanted to kill himself, but it is really impossible to get a date that everyone can”, excused those who organized everything. Infobae He chatted with five members of the meeting to retell the story behind an NBA photo.
The meeting was brewing days ago, from Río Tercero, lands of Prigioni, and the person in charge of logistics was Pablo Cortez, an industrial engineer who is a historic fan of Atenas and has befriended many of the former players. He was in charge of notifying and coordinating that everyone could be there at 9:00 p.m. to have a great barbecue dinner around 10:15 p.m. What topics were touched? “I would tell you that it was 95% basketball, impossible to touch on another topic. We gave ourselves a tummy, ”said one of the attendees, between laughs. Everything was talked about: the National Team, the League, the NBA, there were memories of anecdotes, a lot of analysis and, above all, laughter.
It was a long table for 30 people that was filled according to affinities and times lived. But, after dinner, several were changing positions to have their moment with others. Bolmaro, for instance, sat down for a while with “the old guard” and he had a lot of fun with the anecdotes they told about the golden age of the League. Mario Milanesio, noted as a great storyteller, won that award again, although Magnano also stood out, a very funny person behind that serious and demanding version that is publicly known. “The moment when he began to mark a move with pebbles on the floor before the attentive gaze of Victoriano, Villar, Palladino and Albertinazzi was tremendous,” they told Infobae.
Campazzo arrived a little later than the rest and stayed for a while. He said that he will remain in Córdoba until the time comes to define if he continues in the NBA or not. To those who consulted, he told them that he still does not know anything. Neither can. “Because we have to wait for the Draft and then for free agency to start, from July 1st, first with the figures and then us, the mortals”, he commented. For now, he said that he is working on the Institute court with Mariano Sánchez, Argentine player development coach -son of the Egg and part of the CAB training staff-, and David Love, an American trainer specializing in shooting who has been 18 years transiting the NBA, either teams (Phoenix, Cleveland and Orlando) or players (Tristan Thompson, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton and Dewayne Dedmon, among others).
“More than correcting the mechanics, with Love I am looking for the mental part. I’m not confident in the shot and I want to work my head in that sense. With Mariano we seek to improve other offensive resources”, recognized in one of the talks that this season he had 30% in triples and knows that he needs to increase it. Facu suffered this season, more than anything because he went from more to less and, starting in January, he had few opportunities after some not-so-good performances that took him out of the rotation. He averaged 5.1 points, 36% from the field, 3.4 assists, 1.8 rebounds and 1 steal in 18 minutes. Love, in his networks, told what he lived in this week with which he was with the point guard. “Underrated city, incredible people, great teaching and also a lot of learning. It was great to work with Facundo Campazzo and connect with the best individual technique coach in the country, Mariano Sánchez,” Love wrote, accompanying the text with a photo of the three of them at the Instituto stadium.
There was also fun in the games that are in the bar, like ping pong and foosball, especially with Bolmaro, his friends and the children of former players. Leandro has to travel to Mexico this Saturday, where he will participate in the 11th Basketball Without Borders, the official NBA campus to see the 60 best regional prospects, between Monday and Thursday of next week. From there he will go to Spain on the 20th, specifically to Barcelona, to train there for a month, thinking about his next season, the second in the best league in the world. In the first he played 35 (of the 82) games in the regular phase, with averages of 1.4 points, 1.2 rebounds and 7 minutes. He split his time between the Wolves and the Iowa affiliate in the G-League, where he played 11 games and had some high-level performances (averaging 13.5 points, 6 assists, 5.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 32 minutes). Now, with the privilege of having Prigioni by his side, he will face a second season, where he will seek to gain more prominence, within a young team that reached the playoffs for the first time in years and promises a lot, with Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell as its leading figures.
Prigioni, for his part, is staying in his native Río Tercero, where he has several ventures and helps a lot, especially to the city’s clubs. “He told us that he wants to be in both windows of the National Team,” admitted one of the protagonists of the dinner, pointing to the matches for the 2023 World Cup Qualifiers that Argentina will play against Venezuela in Puerto La Cruz, on June 30, and then , on July 3, in Panama against the local. Pablo has been as a guest assistant before, including the Olympic preparation in Las Vegas.
Thus, between experiences, anecdotes and lots of laughs, an epic night passed. Full of basketball and glory.
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An NBA photo: the story behind the unprecedented dinner with the glories of Argentine basketball