Wednesday, November 2, 2011

5 Quick Questions With...Gianluca Pascucci - GM of Pallacanestro Olimpia - EA7 Emporio Armani

The Tampa Bay Rebels are excited for the opportunity to speak with Gianluca Pascucci, the General Manager of Pallacanestro Olimpa EA7 - Emporio Armani, one of the most storied basketball franchises in the entire world that competes in Lega Basket Serie A (the top league in Italy) and the Euroleague.  Mr. Pascucci, who has proven himself as an incredible talent evaluator and executive, spent seven years as an international scout with the Houston Rockets, and has been with Pallacanestro Olimpia since 2008.  With the help of Mr. Pascucci, EA7 - Emporio Armani has reached the finals of the Italian League in both the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

Why is Lega Basket Serie A one of the best leagues in the world?

The Italian League has a long history of being one of the best thanks to few teams that achieved great results in the past and the ability to attract big names as players (Spencer Haywood, Bob McAdoo, Joe Barry Carroll, Bill Bradley just to name few).

What has made Pallacanestro Olimpia EA7 - Emporio Armani such a successful organization in one of the world’s top leagues?
Pallacanestro Olimpia has a long history of success in Italy and in Europe by winning 25 Italian Championships  and 3 Euroleagues among other trophy. After few years not in the spotlight now the organization is back at the top thanks to Mr. Giorgio Armani who acquired (not only sponsor it) it 4 years ago.

With a limited number of roster spots available for foreign players, what skills and attributes do you look for when you consider adding a foreign player to your team?
First of all we look at the person, not even at the basketball player, especially for someone who has never played before in Italy or in Europe. Like we always say, the major step for an American player coming in Europe to play is to be “into it" 100%, which I mean (is to) be focused and committed in life transition. Those who come without that mentality will almost for sure fail on the court.

How does your team discover and evaluate potential foreign players? Do you rely only on your own scouting department, or do gather information from other coaches, camps, and scouting services?
We have our own Scouting Department, but at the same time we use connections and friendships I established over my seven years of working for the Houston Rockets.
From your experience, what is the biggest adjustment that American players have to make when they play in Italy?
Like I said above it’s life away from USA, in a different country and culture…not saying better neither worse, just different…but they come open minded the transition is smooth, many American players decided to stay put and live over here in Italy at the end of their careers.