Turkish Airlines Euroleague
December 07, 2013
Alessandro Gentile, Benetton Basket
by: David Hein, Eurocupbasketball.com
December 1, 2011
Benetton Treviso’s Alessandro Gentile does not feel the pressure of following in the footsteps of his famous father. Instead the emerging talent is letting his play on the court speak for itself. And that’s been loud and clear for the 19-year-old. Gentile leads Benetton in scoring with 14.7 points per game through the first half of the Eurocup Regular Season. Last season he helped the tradition-filled Italian club to the Eurocup Finals, where they finished fourth. And that led to a contract extension of three years until 2014. “I’m really proud of playing for Benetton because it is a really important club. I have been here for five years, so it’s like my second home,” said Gentile. “I really feel happy. I don’t feel the pressure because it’s basketball and I like playing basketball.”
Gentile downplayed any pressure he feels about playing basketball with the name Gentile –his father Nando Gentile was a great player and coach who won the 2000 Euroleague title and a silver medal with the Italian national team at EuroBasket 1991 as a player. “My father helped me a lot. He tries to help me in the basketball life because he already lived it. He helps me make a lot of adjustments in my game. He tries to help me where I make some mistakes. But a father is also important for the life outside the court, much more than on the court,” said Gentile.
Benetton head coach Alexander Djordjevic said his young star is already making big strides in making people think of the younger Gentile. “He has a tough last name. That helps until a certain point. But I think he’s creating his own career really, really well,” said Djordjevic.
Gentile also calmly shrugged off questions about what it’s like playing at such a high level at such a tender age. “The age doesn’t count,” he said in his usual confident manner. “If you’re a good player, you play. If not, then you don’t. It doesn’t matter if you’re 15 or 45.”
Gentile definitely is showing that he belongs on the court with older players, especially after dominating the youth ranks of European basketball for the Italian Under-20 national team last summer, with whom he won the silver medal in Bilbao. “We had a really good tournament with the U-20s; not only me, but the whole team. We know that this is a team game. Not only can the individual play good if you want to win. Everybody played good and we are great friends in the group. It was a great goal,” said Gentile, who averaged 18.2 points in the tournament.
Gentile also was calm in considering when he would eventually join the Italian senior national team, which last summer at EuroBasket 2011 in Lithuania featured top stars Andrea Bargnani, Marco Belinelli and Danilo Gallinari. “It’s no problem for me. If my time will come, it’s okay. If my time does not come, then I will rest this summer, no problem and I will work on myself,” said Gentile.
The Maddaloni native admits that he still has lots of areas to improve on his game. “I think as a player I have to improve on everything. I don’t want to be a specialist. I want to be a total player. I want to improve in every aspect of my game. So I work hard every day to do this.”
Coach Djordjevic is impressed with Gentile’s mentality and work ethic. “He’s a great kid. He likes to work. Individually he’s really great, his body is good. He likes to practice. He’s really strong. He’s showing everybody that he’s a big talent offensively above all,” said the coach. There are some areas where Djordjevic would like to see Gentile improve. “I am happy with his development. I would love to see him involved much more in defensive read situations.” But he believes Gentile’s future is bright.
Gentile plays a strong game and displays his confidence on and off the court. And he’s not shy about talking about his biggest goal. “My biggest dream is to win Euroleague. I want to win it. I think it’s the biggest competition in the world.”