August 19, 2010

Trasolini Reflects on Play in Europe, the Upcoming Season

Junior forward Marc Trasolini spent some time this summer in Canada training with Canada's National team and then played a series of exhibition games against Senior National teams from other countries in Europe. (Check out photos here!) Canada's main focus was to get experience for the players, work to develop the players abilities, see the top prospects from Canada and also determine who the head coach would be for the Senior Team, which will most likely represent Canada in the Olympic Games in London in 2012.  Trasolini's goal is to play on the Olympic team 'someday in the future'.

Last season, Trasolini averaged 13.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.6 bpg, playing 29.3 mpg, leading the team in points, rebounds and blocks.  He played in every game, starting 27.  His 50 blocked shots on the year were No. 5 on the single season list; and his 87 career blocks are No. 5 on the career blocks list; and Trasolini is on pace to break John Bryant's school record (246, 2005-09)

Trasolini is back at Santa Clara, healthy and excited about the upcoming season.  The following is an expanded question and answer session with Trasolini.

SCU: How is Canada's basketball program?

MT: The program is definitely building. They have developed it to start at a young age. I have been playing with it for a few years and the US doesn't do that. There is a bright future and I look to see a lot more of Canada hopefully soon. 

SCU: Have you been to Europe before?

MT: Yes, I have been to Europe. My family is from Italy and so I have been there a few times. I have also been to London with my mom.

SCU: What countries did you go to on this trip with Canada?

MT: Belgium first, then London, followed by Holland and Spain.

SCU: What was the best part of the trip?

MT: I wouldn't say there was one best part. I liked every place we went to. The trip got better as it went along, but if I had to pick I would say I really liked Amsterdam and Spain.  Those two places were really new to me.  Amsterdam was a really cool city and it wasn't like other cities I've been to. They have really good night life – it's pretty crazy (smiles).  It's different than any other place I've ever been.  Spain is a real vacation destination for a lot of people. Good weather, a lot of nice beaches. We were in the Canary Islands in Spain.   Yes, it was really awesome. We were there for six days.  We went to the beach a few times. We also went on a boat cruise where we saw dolphins and stuff.  We only had one day off to sightsee because for the most part we had a lot of practices. We practiced a lot as a team. 

The other places we went earlier in the trip, we were about three days each.

SCU: What did learn about traveling with a team like this?

MT: One thing I learned was about playing professionally overseas and internationally. My goal is to play professionally some day. Most of my teammates were professionals and so they gave me advice and told me a lot of stories.  They shared stories with me about their past experiences and travels. They also talked about problems they have had with agents and how contracts worked.

SCU: Does it make you more excited now to play professionally?

MT: Yeah, definitely.  I am just excited to play basketball as a profession. I like the lifestyle of living in Europe while making money at the same time.

SCU: Does that mean you would pass up the NBA to go to Europe?

MT: No! (smiles). I'd sit on the bench in the NBA.

SCU: What do you feel like you have to work on in your game?

MT: I need to continue to work on being aggressive and being consistent. On this trip I had games where I would be really aggressive and really successful. And then I had other games I wouldn't be as involved in them.  I need to work on being consistent and assertive.  It was a problem here last year as well and the coaches preached this to me in the past and it's a big thing for me.

SCU: How will you do? Improve your consistency and aggressiveness?

MT: It's a mindset more than anything, a confidence I need to carry with me. Whether it's pick-up, practice or a game, I know that I have to bring it. I need to continue to get experience playing at this level; and grow in my confidence.  I hope that it happens in time and each year I feel like it's getting stronger.

SCU: Good stuff Marc.  What NBA players did you play against in Europe?

MT: First Francisco Ellison (Holland) and then Spain had about five or six NBA players.  Ricky Rubio, Rudy Fernandez, Marc Gasol (Pau's brother), Jorge Garbajosa, Jose Calldron.  Pau Gasol played on their team on their Olympic team and won the NBA title this year with the Lakers, but he had some off-season surgery and didn't play.

SCU: Spain, who beat Canada handily while you where there, had a number of NBA players as you have noted, and is ranked No. 2 in the world.  What was playing them like? 

MT: It was a crazy atmosphere, the gym was packed. Their style of play was on a different level of play that I have ever seen in person.  They played really up-tempo and their teamwork and chemistry was amazing.  They could get any shot they wanted. They would pass up open shots for other open shots.  It was definitely a great game to play in and be a part of.

SCU: What did you learn?

MT: I saw what it takes to play at that level.

SCU: Overall, what did you learn that you can bring to the team this year?

MT: I talked about this earlier when I said I will continue to be aggressive and consistent and elevate my game as best as I can. 

SCU: When you returned from Europe, Santa Clara's entire men's basketball team was here in summer school (early August). What were your general first impressions?

MT: I was happy to be back first of all.  I was excited to see all the new young guys in action.  So far I have been impressed with how they have been doing and I think they really can contribute next year.

SCU: After being here now 10 days or so and playing a lot of open gym, what are you thinking? Impressions?

MT: I have a good feeling going into next year. We are really going to improve on what we did last year and have a strong season with a lot more wins. 

SCU: How will you do that?  There will be a lot of competition in practice – will that be a positive come game time?

MT: It starts in practice. We have a couple months to prepare and we will all be pushing each other. Bringing in talent raises everyone game and the hard work and effort will help us in games. 

SCU: You have a fellow Canadian on this team now, Julian Clarke, who is from Toronto.  What experiences have you shared with him? Do you talk about Santa Clara alum Steve Nash '96 much?

MT: It's going to be good to have another Canadian on the team. We have talked about stories of playing on the Junior team.  A lot of my friends have played with him so it's good to hear about how they are doing. He qualified with the Canadian team for the World U19 Championships next year.

SCU: Anything else you want to say?

MT: I am excited for the season.  I am working to expand my game and developing my outside game.  I go in the gym and get extra shots up.  Free throws.  Dribbling. Things like that.

I am also looking forward to going back home and seeing my family again in September when classes are over.  I will go home for a week and a half and spend some time with my family and then get ready to go to work with the team as we start individuals on September 15. 

Go Broncos!