Danilo Gallinari: "If things go well, I will enter the draft"
You recently got hurt in the knee. Was it anything serious?
Danilo Gallinari: No, not at all. I'm OK now. I strained it a little bit, but it was nothing serious. That was like two weeks ago and the day after I got hurt, I was playing again.
You have shown a lot of improvement this season. What's the main reason?
DG: There's really no secret, just working hard every day. I try to always do that, working more than everybody else, more than my teammates. And I think that's the attitude you need to have, especially at my age.
Any particular area of your game you work on more than any other thing?
DG: No, nothing in particular. You have to work on everything. Just improve your skills.
You didn't play the Euro championship with Italy last summer. Has that helped you to be better prepared for this season?
DG: That's really hard to tell, but it's probable.
How big is basketball in Milano? Do people recognize you in the streets?
DG: Not a lot of people. You know we have two big football teams here and they get most of the attention. Basketball is popular, but it's not even close to football. So yes, some people know you, but not all that much.
I saw you on the cover of an Italian magazine wearing a suit and sitting on a car... Do you feel comfortable doing photoshoots and things of that nature?
DG: Oh, yeah, because that means people are paying attention to what you are doing. If they see and think that I have the qualities to do things like that, I'm OK with that. It's not like I'm looking to become very famous, but if it happens it would be OK. But anyway my passion is basketball. That's the most importing thing to me.
Do you look for your father's advice a lot on things related to basketball? [Danilo's father, Vittorio Gallinari, played for the Italian National Team in the 80s].
DG: Not so much about basketball. We talk a lot, but more about things that are not basketball. We talk about life more than basketball.
He wasn't very good on the offensive end, right?
DG: Yes. But he was a very good defender.
Do you think you can be as good as he was defensively?
DG: Yes, if I work hard enough. Because defense is really not about technique, it's about wanting to do it and putting effort.
Do you follow the career of Andrea Bargnani in the NBA?
DG: Yes, yes. He's a very good player. There are not many players like him and he's so hard to guard... It's very difficult for other players.
Some people have called you the new Dejan Bodiroga. What do you think about that?
DG: It's a honor to be compared to somebody like him, who's had so much success. He was a great player and a champion, so it's an honor. But I really don't want to be compared to anybody. I want to be the best I can with no comparisons.
Do you consider yourself more of a shooter or a penetrator?
DG: I think both.
Was it anything special to play against Nicolas Batum, which is probably the other big European draft prospect this year? Any extra motivation there?
DG: Yes, for sure! We played only once and it was in Le Mans, because I was injured for the other game between our teams. For sure there was extra motivation playing against him.
And you won the matchup.
DG: Yes, I was happy about that.
Your father has said you should try the draft this year. What do you think?
DG: For now, I have to think about my team and the current season. But yes... I think if things go well, I will enter the draft this year.
You don't have a buyout clause with your current team. Is that correct?
DG: I don't know for sure. You have to ask my father!
You speak very good English at a very young age. How's that?
DG: Well, in school I was good with English when it was about writing. I was good with the grammatical part and all those things. But I didn't speak the language so well. Then I started playing in the second division with my team and I started speaking it better because we had all those American players. So it's no problem for me now.
Jorge Sierra is the editor of HoopsHype.com
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