The Italian national basketball team has some significant Arizona Wildcats flair to it.
UA assistant coach Riccardo Fois has been named an assistant to the Italian team ahead of FIBA World Cup qualifying and the EuroBasketball tournament this summer. Fois, a native of Olbia, Italy, also served as an assistant for the national team during the 2017 EuroBasketball tournament.
Italy NT new coaching staff:— Marco Pagliariccio (@loupaya) June 8, 2022
Head Coach: Gianmarco Pozzecco
Senior Assistant: Carlo Recalcati
Other Assistants: Edoardo Casalone, Riccardo Fois, Paolo Galbiati, Giuseppe Poeta
There are more coaches than players.
Fois joined Tommy Lloyd’s Arizona staff as an assistant last summer after spending two seasons with the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, Fois was an assistant for Gonzaga and Pepperdine, his alma mater.
“Riccardo and I, we’re like brothers,” Lloyd said in February of his relationship with Fois. “He’s got a great basketball mind. He’s not afraid to share his opinion sometimes And I need those opinions. Because a lot of times, he’s right.”
As an assistant for the Italian national team, Fois will coach former Arizona point guard Nico Mannion, who is one of Italy’s top emerging players. Mannion averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 assists for Italy at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
Mannion overcame a serious health scare in the past year but seems to be doing fine now playing for Italian club Virtus Bologna.
Italy’s next game is a FIBA World Cup qualifier July 4 against Netherlands. EuroBasket begins in early September, and Italy’s first game will be against none other than Arizona-Baltic pipeline Estonia. There’s no word yet on whether UA point Kerr Kriisa or incoming freshman Henri Veesaar will compete for Estonia.