Turkish Airlines Euroleague
May 21, 2013
Pietro Aradori, Lauretana Biella
Just two years ago Pietro Aradori came onto the European scene marked as one of Italian basketball's brightest stars. He was just 18 when he made his Euroleague debut with Armani Jeans in October 2007. However after an up-and-down season in the Euroleague and Italian League, many began to overlook the teenage guard. Aradori later moved to Lottomatica Roma and last season Lauretana Biella, where things didn't immediately get better. But last March, a 7-for-8 three-point shooting effort at Biella Forum against Montegranaro changed everything. Aradori quickly regained the confidence that once made him a rising star and proceeded to shine the rest of the season, leading Biella to its greatest showing in club history and culminating in a Eurocup berth. Aradori continued to display his talents this season, which started on the right foot when he led Biella in scoring in its Eurocup debut, a home win over CEZ Basket Nymburk.
Aradori grew up playing for Assigeco Casalpusterlengo, a team now in Legadue, but at that time playing in the third Italian division. Aradori was always considered a top prospect, just like his teammate Danilo Gallinari. Casalpusterlengo was an ideal place for them both to develop as it was a club focused on teaching younger players. Aradori proceeded to make his professional debut there at age 15. "It was a pleasure to practice with Danilo," Aradori says now. "We worked very hard with very good teachers, not just to be good shooters, although we did work a lot on this, but to build a complete offensive package. Casalpusterlengo is the right place for a young player to develop his skills, and start playing in the pro world."
Aradori may still be one of the youngest players on the court for his team's games, but he already speaks like a veteran looking back at his career. "The jump from the junior league to professional basketball is not so easy," he said. "You have to go step-by-step, because if you fly too high, there is the chance you will get there too early and have a rough landing."
He went to Imola in the Legadue for the 2006-07 campaign at age 17 and Aradori did not disappoint, averaging 12.8 points per game and cementing his status as one of the most interesting young players in the country. Armani Jeans Milano came calling and he moved there that summer, excited also by the chance to play in the Euroleague. Aradori played an average of 13.4 minutes per game in the 2007-08 regular season. "I felt ready to challenge the big teams and the big players in the Euroleague," he recalls. "It was like a dream, it wasn't easy. It was a different level, especially on the physical side. During the season I chose to change and go to Roma, and I'm happy about what happened. I had the chance to taste the Euroleague and to practice with great players and a coach like Jasmin Repesa. That was the foundation to become the player I am now."
Aradori's career changed when Daniele Baiesi, at that time the General Manager of Lauretana Biella, called him to play in a city where basketball is a lifestyle. A small city where young players can improve by playing at the top level. And after an average start, he exploded in March, becoming one of the main protagonists of the best-ever season for Biella as it reached the Italian League semifinals and earned a berth in the Eurocup. His numbers in the playoffs increased to 11.2 points per and he showed great accuracy from beyond the arc (47.4%) for the entire season. "I have to sincerely say that I had a lot of difficulty early in the season understanding what the coach wanted from me, and what I had to do to be helpful for the team," Aradori said. "But after the game with Montegranaro, I started to feel more confidence in myself, and to feel the trust of my coach and all my teammates."
This season he has shown great confidence on the court. Aradori wants to have the ball in his hands in the clutch. He trademark has become his incredible success in catch-and-shoot situations, in which he is nearly unstoppable. "I love to have the ball in my hands when it counts, I like pressure and responsibility to make important decisions," Aradori explained. "I want to be better than my opponent and always I want to win, but I know I have to do it not with words, but on the court."
At his age Aradori knows he can still improve and become a more complete player, which is just one reason that he loves to work in practice. "I like to have individual session to improve my offensive skills," Aradori added. "I think you need to go to work every day to do so. I have changed my defensive mentality here in Biella, becoming more aggressive, I would like to become a complete player, who is reliable on both sides of the court."
Lauretana got off to a great Eurocup start by edging CEZ Nymburk 78-77 and Aradori was the main contributor with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and a 25 index rating. After two games, he leads his team in scoring and steals and is second in rebounds and assists, so his worth to Biella in the Eurocup is immense. "Every game is a battle, he summed up. "We started on the right foot and we want to reach the next round. Our fans help us a lot in the games at Biella Forum. It won’t be easy because we have to adapt quickly to a different, more physical game. "
Although his future may bring great things, Aradori is not tempted by them now and is solely focused on the goals at hand with Biella. "My future... I don’t want to think about where I will be or how I will play in two or three years," Aradori said. "I want to just think about winning the next game and going to the gym to work hard individually and with the team. I want to keep my head focused on this moment and not relax or lose my daily goals dreaming to be, I don’t know where, next season." And it’s that attitude that promises to see Aradori getting better from week to week and game to game as he continues on the long road to possible superstardom!
Friday, December 04, 2009