The youth basketball attentions have shifted to Bassano del Grappa, in Italy, for this weekend, where 8 of the best teams in Europe participate in the #PlayForPassion Under-16 Tournament. Real Madrid and Barcelona (Spain), Stella Azzurra Rome, A|X Milan and Orange1 Bassano (Italy), Ratgeber Academy (Hungary), Bayern Munich (Germany) and Promitheas Patra (Greece) will go head-to-head in one of the most anticipated tournaments of the season. We spoke with the Bassano team to see what they are doing in this small town in Italy and how their academy has become one of the best in the continent so quickly. We thank them for their openness and willingness to give us a look into their academy.
Orange1 Basket Bassano is an academy in Bassano del Grappa, a city half an hour away from Venice, and it’s one of the main programs on the rise in European Youth Basketball. In the last few years, Bassano has specialized in developing athletes that aspire to play professionally in European Leagues or College basketball in the United States. Every year, the Italian team plays in thirty tournaments all around the world. Moreover, Bassano recruits kids from all over the world: at the moment they have guys from ten different countries in their teams. The 2006-generation is their best one: recently they have won the Szent Istvan Cup, beating Stellazzurra Rome in the Final game.
We also spoke with Tiefing Diawara, a 6-11 Center born in 2006 and probably the best prospect in the academy. Diawara spoke about his arrival at Bassano, his experience there, his overall game and his goals for the future. Definitely a player to keep an eye on as a possible NBA Draft prospect in the future. For now, he is one of the household names in the tournament.
Team: Orange1 Basket Bassano | Country: Mali | Birth Date: 2006 | Height: 6’11”
ID Prospects: When and how did you get to Orange1 Bassano? And what do you think makes Bassano different and a good place for young players to grow?
Tiefing Diawara: I started playing in Mali, after a lot of years spent as a soccer player. I was a striker. After a short period in Spain, I arrived here in Bassano and I’ve been here since 2020. It’s an awesome place with a great organisation. This is one of the best places to grow both as a person and as a basketball player.
IDP: Describe your style of play for the people that don’t know you. What do you feel like you need to work on the most?
TD: I’m a classic big man, but I really want to improve my game on the perimeter. I have to improve my dribble and handles, I wanna become a factor outside the paint also.
IDP: What is your ultimate goal in basketball? And in life?
TD: My goal is to arrive in the NBA. I’ve always looked up to Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid in particular. Antetokounmpo’s speed is awesome, just like Embiid’s technique and skill. I enjoy watching them play and arriving where they are now is a dream of mine.
Players to keep an eye on
The #PlayForPassion Tournament will occur from March 3rd to the 6th in Bassano Del Grappa and will be streamed live on the team’s Youtube channel. Here are the possible standouts from the tournament:
- Real Madrid: #4 Ismaila Diagne (’06), #8 Declan Duru (’07), #9 Egor Demin (’06), #10 Hugo Gonzalez (’06) and #16 Mitar Bosnjakovic (’06)
- Stella Azzurra Rome: #10 Axel Piccirilli (’06), #11 Andrej Jovanovic (’06) and #21 Mattia Santinon (’06)
- Ratgeber Academy: #5 Gabor Lukacsi (’07)
- A|X Milan: #9 Samuele Miccoli (’06)
- Orange1 Basket Bassano: #5 Matteo Rinaldin (’06), #18 Tiefing Diawara (’06) and #33 Dame Sarr (’06)
- FC Barcelona: #6 Alejandro Diez (’06), #10 Martin Lorbek (’06), #11 Lucas Ainaga (’06), #13 Edgar Moure (’06) and #32 Kasparas Jakucionis (’06)
- Bayern Munich: #7 Dominik Dolic (’06), #11 Didier Mbida (’06) and #16 Matteo Petters (’06)
- Promitheas Patras: #10 Nikolaos Soilemetzidis (’06)