Ex-NBA player talks to EuroBasket, discusses future of Italian basketball

Rich_LaurelEuro-basket has recently talked with Richard Laurel, former NBA player, former International player in Italy, France and Belgium about his return to Trieste, Italy; the site of some of his greatest accomplishments as a player.

Now working as a consultant for the club, he was able to share some valuable insights on the future of Italian basketball…namely at the youth levels and beyond.

Richard Laurel played one season in the NBA, with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977-78, averaging 2.4 ppg in 10 games.

He later played in Italy, France and Belgium.


EU: Greetings Rich, thank you for your time in chatting with us. What brings you back to Italy?

RL: Italy is like home to me. I consider I had my best basketball years there, even though some peoples opinions might differ saying I played better in France and Belgium, but to me its definitely there.

EU: After playing in France and Belgium as well, we see that you had been doing quite a bit with youth development and skills training throughout the countries that you previously played. Has this your primary focus? Please tell us more.

RL: Yes because Im working with universities in America finding talented girls and boys to go there to study and play basketball from all of these countries.

EU: We have seen that you have been contracted with Trieste recently as a consultant within a club. What can you tell us about this new position for you?

RL: I have been working with Libertas as a freelance consultant and trainer but have not been under contract. I am greatly enjoying helping them and we are going to be doing two Camps this Summer, one the 22nd – 29th of June in Croatia and the second, a Master Camp in Trieste the 1st to the 5th of July which is being held with four NBA coaches. The ages for both these camps are boys and girls born 1995 – 2000.

EU: We have heard that you are planning and moving forward with some ground breaking endeavors within Italian Basketball…

RL: Yes, apart from the Summer Camps I just mentioned there is a Pro Camp being held in Udine the 17th – 20th June, this is the Summer League, an important event to promote players age 18 to 23 from the U.S. and Europe of which I am taking an active part. This is an exciting week and we are expecting a high attendance of players, coaches and universities. I will let you have the flyer when I get it.

EU: Have you any aspiration, thoughts or concerns going forward?

RL: Yes I do. Here in Italy young people dont have a chance to follow their goals and aspirations as easily as in the States, so Im trying my hardest to help them achieve them.

EU: How do you see the shape of what you are planning fitting into the scope of things here in Italy? Is this the reasoning behind your embarking on it here as opposed to elsewhere?

RL: Not really, I chose Italy and also Trieste because once again at heart Im an Italian! I need to start where I am familiar with the geographical position. Trieste is right on the border with Slovenia and near to Croatia making it a place full of possibility. Im working to bring girls and boys to universities in America, starting as young as 13 years old. This way we can work with them early on to get them used to speaking, studying and living there.

EU: Is there anything that you wish to leave with your fans abroad (Italy, France Belgium and the USA)?

RL: That I am back, present and ready to do everything within my power to enhance and help the youth in this area! I am full of energy and enthusiasm.


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