He joined Dolomiti Energia Trento when the team was in the Italian third division and in record time, managed to take the team to the 7DAYS EuroCup Semifinals. Argentinean playmaker Toto Forray is in his ninth season with the club, becoming a fan favorite in Trento due to his commitment, aggressiveness and court sense. Forray joined Trento in 2011 and also helped the team reach the Italian League finals. At age 33, Forray still has some years left in his basketball career and it would not be a surprise if he stays in Trento for the remainder of it. He will tell us all about Trento and its run in the competition in his EuroCupbasketball.com blog.
Since this is my first blog entry, I will tell you a bit about myself... I am Toto Forray and this is my fourth 7DAYS EuroCup season. I was born in Argentina and left my country at age 17 to play basketball in Italy, so I have been here for a long time already. I started my career with Sicilia Messina, a first-division club, but practiced with its youth teams and helping the first squad. After that, I moved to a sixth-division team, Virtus Padova, in the 2004-05 season. I joined Trento in 2011 and this is my 10th season with the team. What I always liked about Trento was its project, always growing as a club. I arrived to the team when it was in the Italian third division, and the season I joined the team, we were immediately promoted to the second division. Soon after that, the team was in the Italian elite. The club was always serious and had the idea to keep growing. We had the same coach for many years. Now, our new coach, Nicola Brienza, is in his first season.
"The run that Trento has had is extraordinary, and I feel very proud."
The club has grown a lot and made me feel important. We got better and better in every season until we were a established team. If someone had told us back in the day that the team would play in the Italian League finals or the EuroCup semifinal, we wouldn't have believed it. Not even the most optimistic of us would have thought that. But little by little, working really hard, on and off the court, we made it happen. I have grown up in this club, as a player but also as a person. I gained six or seven kilos of muscle, which made me get better and adjust my game to the team's needs. The run that Trento has had is extraordinary, and I feel very proud of what I have done until now.
You probably noticed that many Argentinean players decided to come to either Spain or Italy at a young age to become professional basketball players. Of course, it is no accident: the main thing is that everyone in Argentina has Spanish or Italian grandparents. That allows you to get double citizenship, which is an advantage to play in those leagues. In the 1990s, when everyone started to bring over Argentinean players, it was a new possibility for us to make a living playing basketball. We have the chance to grow and learn other cultures through basketball, which is an opportunity everybody should take if given the chance.
Speaking about this season, we come off a very good road win against Buducnost VOLI Podgorica. They managed to get within one point with 1:20 left but we managed to stay calm and keep control. We were focused and cold-blooded in the final moments. Above all, we played at a continuous level of defense all 40 minutes long. Of course, we allowed some layups, but you cannot deny every shot. We were at a good defensive level, focused at all times, and that allows you to reach the end of the game knowing what you have to do.
"We will do everything we can to win as many games as possible."
We have a lot of room for improvement, too. We signed Alessandro Gentile, and then Davide Pascolo will get his rhythm going soon after an injury. Alessandro is a very experienced player, even though he is still young. He will help us a lot. He joined the team a few weeks ago and has to find his best physical condition, but he is already helping us with his mentality and competitiveness. Davide's knee is much better and he will see more playing time soon. He has very long arms and his shooting release is very natural, no matter how unorthodox and unthinkable it looks to everyone else. I have been playing for him for eight years and from Day One, there are jokes about his shooting release. Like I said, it is very natural for him, and he hits a lot of shots.
Our next two EuroCup games are at home against Oldenburg and Arka, and both will be very important because they are teams fighting with us for a Top 16 spot. Playing both at home gives us an advantage that we need to use. It will be very important for us, but we know these are critical games. We will prepare them in the best way possible.
Like I said, we made it to the EuroCup semifinals in 2016, and it is something that we talk about a lot. We were the most surprising team that season and that probably allowed us to reach further than most people thought. This is important information for our new players. We will not try just to play, but to wins games, of course. We will do everything we can to win as many games as possible and reach as far as we can in the EuroCup. Every season is a new opportunity and if we work the same way we did that season, we can reach those results, even better. It motivates you to do your daily work.