"I've never been a fan of this Marcotullio kid, the shooting guard," said HM Queen Elizabeth II from the Royal Box at the 2011 European Championships before downing some scones. "Would it hurt him that much to pump fake every once in a while? You go with the upfake you get an open 18 footer. You're aware you can put it up from inside the arc, right?"
It's summer again, and while we sadly won't have constant updates on Kyle Rowley's Trinidad and Tobagian basketball adventures, we have all the Alex Marcotullio action we need. For the second straight season, Marco is crossing the pond to ball with the Brits, as they'll be attempting to qualify for the top tier of European basketball.
It's the same tournament he was in last year: 22 nations from the second division of U-20 Euro hoops are trying to be one of the top two to gain access to the "A" division. Last year, the UK fell short, losing to Israel despite 23 from Marcotullio, earning a sixth-place finish. This year, the team heads to Sarajevo - scenic, depending on your analysis of how scenic possibly unexploded NATO bombshells are - to try to accomplish that feat again, starting July 14.
Marco hasn't played in any of the team's run-up games, but, well, he made the cut anyway: he's easily the team's returning scorer - leading scorer Ovie Soko from UAB is now over 20, and I literally can't find any info on the whereabouts of Will Neighbour, who supposedly played for Arkansas-Little Rock but totally isn't on their website. They play against Belgium, those dirty, delicious beer producing, also, fries and waffles, you know what, I take back what I said about them being dirty, they're pretty cool actually, wait, where was I? Oh yeah, screw Belgium, and Denmark, those dirty Hamlet producing assholes, next week, and open tourney play against Portugal, those dirty Cristiano Ronaldo producing assholes, July 14.
It's good to see players getting in organized work over the offseason when NU isn't allowed to work them out. Considering NU's point guard situation is up in the air next year, you'd hope they give him the chance to handle the rock - his shooting is already where it needs to be, it's a matter of whether he can learn to help share the burden of distributing alongside incoming recruits Tre Demps and David Sobolewski that will be seen. But most likely, they'll just have him gun, as they did last year. He's still hesitant to take looks from inside the arc - only 41 of his 167 shots attempted were twos - and that's not going to change. He's never going to be a creator. But he has the ability to leverage his shooting ability to open up the defense and become a passer. His assists doubled last season, hopefully that trend of drawing the defense and not jacking up shots continues.
If he plays really well, a spot on the 2012 Great Britain Olympic team isn't out of the question - alongside the US (who won the FIBA World Championship in Turkey last summer), the host nation is the only team qualified for the basketball tournament. There's currently some relatively scrubby guys on that roster - I'm looking at you, Devan Bailey of Central Connecticut State so if Marco makes a good impression, NU could have an Olympian on its hands.