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.
Well, we are a 3-5 right now, and depend on our own results to make it to the Top 16, which is always good. We lacked a bit of consistency so far, both in the EuroCup and in the Italian League. Being a young team without much experience, we haven't been able to play with continuity. For instance, we managed to beat Galatasaray in Turkey, and a win like that should have given us a lot more confidence, but it wasn't like that. Things got complicated, but now we have a great opportunity in our next game against Asseco Arka Gdynia in Poland, and we have to make the most out of it.
"This game will show how mature we are."
Personally, I am feeling very well. I had the chance to play a great game against Galatasaray and also had some good games in the Italian League. Aaron Craft got injured, so I am seeing a lot more playing time, and I have to take a step forwards. It is not easy to handle all the game rhythm when you play 30 or 35 minutes, to have a bright performance in all the playing time you get, but Aaron has been out for a while, so I have been in this situation for a few weeks and am getting used to it. Aaron underwent meniscus surgery and his rehab is going well. He is not in a lot of pain and is about to start moving around very soon. This is when we will find out how much longer he will be sidelined.
Arguably our best player so far has been Justin Knox. Maybe he is a surprise to EuroCup fans, but we had played against him already last season in Italy. He has improved a lot by hitting his mid-range shots. Justin is playing many minutes and have a lot of confidence. He has good size and weight, and is making the most out of this opportunity. He is feeling good, confident, in shape. We are trying to get him involved as much as we can. He has better numbers in the EuroCup, possibly because they know him better in the Italian League. At the same time, you have more days to prepare the game in the EuroCup, and there are teams in the Italian League which don't play European competitions and have more days to prepare against you. The Italian League is very technical, very tactical, and that's the only reason I can think of to explain this. At the same time, playing in European competitions gives you extra motivation.
"We really want to make the Top 16."
The game against Arka is a do-or-die one for us. Arka already won in Trento, so having a 0-2 record against them would probably eliminate us, so we have to win. If we manage to win, it is also important to try to win by at least 11 points, as Arka beat us by that difference in Trento. If we win by 12 or more, we will qualify to the Top 16 if Galatasaray beats Buducnost. This game will show how mature we are as a team.
It is very important to focus on winning the game, first and foremost, and then think about the points difference later. This is critical, from my short experience of being involved in games like this. The first thing is winning the game, and then, in the final minutes, think about the 11-point difference. I remember a game like this, in a similar situation some years ago: we had to win by 8 or 9 points and ended up winning by one in overtime. I will try pass on that experience to my teammates to prevent something like this to happen to us again. If we win by one point, we will still depend on our own result in Round 10. We really want to make the Top 16, it has been one of our goals since the beginning of the season.
Finally, to tell you something different... Even though I have been in Italy for a long, long time, I am trying to hold on to some of my Argentinean habits. I drink mate, and while my wife is Italian, but she enjoys drinking it, too. We drink mate at breakfast every morning. I never did asados (Argentinean barbecue) and it is too late to start now. That would be like insulting my own culture! I try to keep the habits that my family passed on to me, the same culture and priorities. I support Racing Club but I don't follow football very closely. I like it, watch it when I can, but I am not a hardcore fan. I speak Spanish with my children and am close to my family: I call them a lot and we are always communicating with each other. I already went twice to Argentina with my children. It is important that they know about our Argentinean culture, about the good things in my country.
That's all for now. I hope we can beat Arka in Poland and come back home with at least good chances to reach the Top 16. #WeDieHard