A Guide to the Italy Men’s Basketball Team
The Italy men’s basketball team, commonly known as ‘the Azzurri’ (the Blues), are one of the eight FIBA co-founder nations. Throughout the side’s long and proud history, they’ve claimed two Olympic silver medals and 10 FIBA EuroBasket medals, including two golds. However, they’ve never won a medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Keen to discover more about the Italy men’s basketball team? Check out this in-depth guide from the team at Courtside 1891. It includes details on the side’s greatest achievements, best players and FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 performance.
2024 Olympics - Men's Basketball
The Italy men's basketball team are confirmed as one of the 24 nations that will compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments 2024, which you can stream live with Courtside 1891. The tournaments are currently scheduled for July 2-7 2024.
Four places remain to make up the twelve-team field that will compete at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. The Olympic basketball events will take place between 27th July and 10th of August 2024. The nations currently confirmed to participate are France (host), South Sudan, Serbia, Canada, Japan, Germany, Australia and the United States.
From Europe, the competing Olympic qualifying tournament nations are Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Lithuania, Spain, Montenegro, Greece, Georgia, Finland, Poland and Italy.
Puerto Rico, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Mexico advanced from the Americas region, following positive results at the 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup. They will be joined by the Bahamas, who shocked Argentina in the FIBA Olympic Pre-Qualifying Tournament in La Banda, Argentina.
Egypt, Angola, Côte d'Ivoire and Cameroon are the competing African nations.
From Asia and Oceania, the teams that advanced were Lebanon, the Philippines, New Zealand and Bahrain.
How Did Italy Do At The FIBA World Cup 2023?
Here are the top stats from Slovenia's FIBA Basketball World Cup campaign:
- → Final Standing: 8th
- → Results: Played 8 Won 4 Lost 4
- → Top Points Scorer: Simone Fontecchio 126 PTS (18 PPG)
- → Top Assist Provider: Marco Spissu 41 AST (5.1 APG)
- → Most Efficient Player: Simone Fontecchio 15 EPG
Italy entered the tournament with the goal of making the Quarter-Finals for the first time since 1998 and they did just that, going 4-1 during the group phases before defeat to the USA, followed by Latvia and Slovenia in the Classification Rounds saw the Azzurri exit with a 4-4 record.
Following a breakout EuroBasket 2022, Simone Fontecchio was the star again for Italy, playing 7 games and scoring double-digit points in every contest. While his 3-ball wasn't always there (he shot 25% from deep during the tournament), he contributed in a variety of ways, including a winning 12-12 double-double against Puerto Rico. His best scoring game came against Serbia (30 PTS) in a win that set up a Quarter-Final with USA, which Italy didn't perform in, going down 63-100. Despite the subsequent disappointing results in the classification games (Fontechhio missed the Latvia game with illness), leading Italy to the last 8 was enough to earn Simone Fontecchio a spot on the All-Second Team. Check out Italy's big second-round win over Puerto Rico below.
Team Presentation Video
Increase your knowledge about the Azzurri by watching our Team Discovery Video. This bite-size package will prime you with some of the best facts about the history of Italian Basketball.
World Cup Qualification
In the initial qualifying round for the FIBA Basketball World Cup, the Italy basketball team were drawn in Group H, alongside Iceland, the Netherlands and Russia. They topped this group with a 3-1 record after Russia were expelled from the tournament.
As a result, the side’s only official defeat in this stage of qualifying was a double-overtime loss against Iceland in Hafnarfjörður.
In the second qualification phase, Italy competed in Group L, alongside Spain, Georgia, Iceland, Ukraine and the Netherlands. They ultimately finished in second place, with a combined record of 8-2.
This was a great performance from Italy, who only finished behind the defending World Cup champions, Spain, based on overall points difference (+120 vs +45). This is because the two sides finished level on points (18) and head-to-head record (156-156).
Best World Cup Qualifying Plays
During the qualification phase, Italy’s scoring was dominated by guard Nico Mannion. In eight games, he notched up 120 points on a 40.7% field goal percentage. Meanwhile, the frontcourt was led by Amedeo Tessitori, who grabbed 34 rebounds (16 offensive) in his eight qualifying appearances.
According to the stats, Italy’s star performer in qualifying was Marco Spissu. This firecracker of a point guard led the roster in both efficiency (107) and cumulative +/- (+48).
Keen to see Italy’s best baskets from the FIBA Basketball World Cup qualifiers? Check out this video of their Top 10 plays.
Current Star Players
Italy announced an extended 16-man roster for the 2023 FIBA World Cup that’s full of talent and enough experience to thrive in the big moments that matter.
Italian fans will be thrilled to hear that Utah Jazz forward Simone Fontecchio was named in the squad. Fontecchio built a reputation as a knock-down shooter around Europe before he joined the NBA in 2022 and made 52 appearances for the Jazz in his debut season.
Fontecchio showed the other side to his game when he scored a game-winning dunk in the Jazz’s 124–123 win over the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors had a one-point lead and possession of the rock with less than eight seconds remaining. But, even though they could have run down the clock, Jordan Poole dropped the ball following an inbounds pass and gave the Jazz possession. Fontecchio didn’t need a second invitation to slam the ball home.
At 27 years old, 2023 will mark Fontecchio’s debut at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. He’s represented the Azzurri since the U16 level in 2011 and he played for the Italy side that competed at the 2020 Summer Olympics and reached the Quarter-Finals.
Joining Fontecchio on Italy’s expanded roster was peripheral NBA-level point guard, Nico Mannion (22 years old), and former New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks big man Nicolò Melli (32). But, there’s no space in the squad for Danilo Gallinari, who is recovering from an ACL injury that ruled him out of the entirety of the 2022-23 NBA season. Mannion would sit out the World Cup ahead of moving to Saski Baskonia in Spain for the 2023/24 domestic season.
Legends of the Team
Many fine players have represented the Italian national team over the years, but one player above all has the international award recognition to claim to be the greatest, Gregor Fučka.
Standing at more than 7 feet tall, he was a powerful forward with the ability to dominate the glass. Domestically, Fučka spent the entirety of his career in Europe, where he enjoyed spells in Yugoslavia, Italy and Spain. During this time, he won a host of titles, including the EuroLeague, the Italian League and the Spanish League.
On the international stage, Fučka won a silver medal at FIBA EuroBasket 1997 and he played at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, where he was selected to the All-Tournament Team. He established his legendary status in Italian basketball when he led Italy to the gold medal at FIBA EuroBasket 1999, scooping up the tournament’s MVP award.
Historical World Cup Performance
In their nine appearances so far, the Italy basketball team have yet to claim a medal at the FIBA Basketball World Cup. To date, their best finish came in 1970 and 1978, when they lost the third-place playoff and came fourth on both occasions.
Previous Successes and Tournament Wins
Basketball Italy have enjoyed a greater degree of success at the Olympic Games, where they’ve appeared on the podium twice. At both the 1980 and 2004 Olympics, the side claimed a silver medal.
The side have also won 10 FIBA EuroBasket medals, including two gold medals, four silver medals and four bronze medals. They have a long history in the tournament, with their first appearance dating back to 1935. To date, they’ve appeared at the tournament on 38 occasions out of 41 editions.
How to Watch Italy Men's Basketball
With Courtside 1891, worldwide fans can watch Italy compete in the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (FOQTs) 2024. We stream every game of FIBA international tournaments as well as other competitions from around the world.
As FIBA’s premium streaming partner for the World Cup, Courtside 1891 provided access to every 2023 FIBA Basketball World Cup game! Watch the competition's biggest games and best moments on-demand on our FIBA Basketball World Cup page.
The best way to make sure that you never miss a single second of the upcoming action is to download our app, which is available on the App Store and Google Play, or sign up to our website platform. Please be aware that, due to broadcasting rights and restrictions, access to some games might be restricted depending on your location. See our where-to-watch page for full details of upcoming competitions.
Looking for the latest results from the world of basketball? Head over to the Courtside 1891 Game Center. Here you’ll also find matchup times in your country as well as easy-to-access game highlights you can watch when you register with Courtside 1891.