Hackett Starring For Italy In Under-20 European Championships

July 10, 2007

USC guard Daniel Hackett has been a key player for the Italian under-20 national basketball team and recently helped them advance to the second round in the U20 European Championships with a perfect 3-0 record in group play. Italy begins second-round play today (July 10) and will have to take two of three vs. Croatia, Israel and Spain to reach the semi-finals.

Hackett has averaged 11.7 points, 4.3 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 steals in the first round and has captured the attention of Italian national team coach Carlo Recalcati, who has added him to the preliminary 18-man roster of the Italian national team which will play for the 2007 European Championship in Spain.

'Daniel is the kind of player we need in Italy,' said Recalcati. 'He's a big guard who can play point guard. In Italy, we only have point guards who like to run and play quick like (Massimo) Bulleri and (Fabio) Di Bella. We don't have that kind of player in Italy.'

'It's great learning about European basketball and playing with my guys because I grew up with them,' said Hackett. 'It's a nice experience and I'm learning a lot from it. It would mean a lot. I don't know if I will get in the 12 that go to Spain, but it means a lot that the coach came out to see me and included me in the 18. I look forward to going out there and playing my game and working with the big guys. And just learn from it.'

Following the U20 Championships, Hackett will train with the Italian national team from July 19-Aug. 4. The Italians will play in an international tournament from July 31-Aug. 4 with Austria, Australia, Croatia, Turkey and Serbia. Prior to that, they will play Turkey in a 'friendly' on July 29. Among the other players on the Italian team are Andrea Bargnani of the Toronto Raptors, Marco Belinelli of the Golden State Warriors and many of the players which were on the Italian team which beat Team USA in 2004 pre-Olympic competition.

Hackett averaged 5.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 37 games, including 16 starts, as a freshman this past season for USC. He was second for the Trojans in assists with 103 and second in free throw shooting with a .792 percentage.

The 6-5 guard had one of his best games for the Trojans during its second-round, 87-68, victory over Kevin Durant and Texas in the NCAA Tournament, scoring 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting.