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Coach D'Antoni enjoying being back in Italy

Coach D'Antoni enjoying being back in Italy

Phoenix Suns coach Mike D'Antoni is enjoying being back in Treviso, Italy, home of three-time European champion Benetton.
"It's super. Fans are great. Town's great. Weather's good. And the food's really good. So it couldn't get much better," D'Antoni said Tuesday.
Since the weekend, D'Antoni and the Suns have been on a training camp in the northern Italian town _ where D'Antoni had two successful spells as coach in 1994-97 and 2001-02, leading Benetton to two of its five Italian League titles _ as part of the NBA Europe Live tour.
Three other NBA teams are also overseas for a series of preseason exhibition games across Europe. The San Antonio Spurs are in France, the Philadelphia 76ers are in Spain, and the Los Angeles Clippers are in Russia.
"I think it's ideal," D'Antoni said of the tour. "It give us an opportunity to come this side of the ocean and show what we have, to get up close and personal with fans. It's fun."
The Suns trained for just over an hour in front of a couple thousand fans at Treviso's Pallaverde Arena, showcasing their skills and mixing with the crowd.
But for D'Antoni, who has led the Suns since December 2003, the trip was not just a publicity stunt.
"It's also really important for us. Hopefully it can help some of the players, you know, to expand a bit, to see what's happening elsewhere in the world and to learn from other teams."
The Suns head to Rome on Friday for a game against Lottomatica Roma, before traveling to Cologne, Germany for a mini-tournament on Oct. 10-11 involving the 76ers, CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
For two-time NBA MVP and Suns captain Steve Nash, the opportunity to spend quality time with his teammates was invaluable.
"At home you get a lot of time to focus and prepare for a game by yourself. But touring over here we get a chance to bond and to spend time together, which I think is valuable in its own right."
He also thought the games would be a good preseason test.
"We know we'll have a tough time playing the European teams. They're in great shape right now and we're just getting started. We have a lot of respect for the teams here and I think it will be very difficult for us."
CSKA Moscow and Maccabi Tel Aviv were the top two finishers in the Euroleague last year.
The Suns begin the regular 2006-7 NBA season with a game at Staples Center against the Los Angeles Lakers on Oct. 31.


Updated : 2020-12-03 01:09 GMT+08:00