Riccardo Moraschini was a natural born talent in Bologna, but he finally expressed all his qualities later in his career. He struggled to adjust to the physicality and skills required at the highest levels, a process made difficult by a catastrophic injury. But he came back from that setback better than ever, and now he’s finally the player everybody envisioned when he was 16 or 17. A multidimensional guard, with a EuroLeague body, capable to help at any level.
THE BEGINNING – “It was important to learn the game around good teammates, in a very competitive youth system in Bologna, a system that produced NBA players, EuroLeague players, Italian league players. It was important to practice with high-level players, listen to high-level coaches like Marco Sanguettoli and for six or seven years Giordano Consolini. Since I was really young, that period became crucial for my growth as a player, as a person.”
THE EARLY YEARS – “I was lucky enough to meet a coach like Stefano Pillastrini who gave me opportunities in the Italian league, even in the EuroLeague, I had minutes. Every young kid should be so lucky to find the right person at the right time, in the right place. I found this opportunity very early, then I lost myself a little and had to start from the scratch once more. I relegated myself to the second league, because at the highest level I didn’t have enough time, I even moved to Rome. I was looking for consistency in terms of playing time, it was what a young kid needs. In A2 I rebuilt myself, tried to have fun, stay on the court, gain responsibility. Then I also had a cruciate ligament injury in Trento, so there were many ups and downs. Finally, I found the right place in Brindisi, with a believer to coach me, Frank Vitucci, and a club which believed in me.”
STARTING FROM THE SCRATCH – “I think it was a bold move, because I could have stayed in Serie A, but I decided to return to Mantova, play one level down, because after the bad injury that I suffered, I was looking for some sort of consistency, in order to get my confidence back, make myself comfortable in doing my things. It was the most important goal. The move paid off because it allowed me to move up to Brindisi where they had a project around me, a lot of confidence, ideas”.
THE BREAKOUT YEAR IN BRINDISI – “Something clicked in my head, I got back the confidence to do the things that I have always done. Having fun, playing with no conscience, doing my things instinctively. For years I wasn’t that player for several different reasons.”
HIS POSITION – “During the last couple of years, they’ve seen me more as a point-guard or guard than a forward. I’m lucky to have the chance, because of my body and skills, to cover three positions and be able to help the team in different ways. Messina is considering me a point-guard more than a forward, but generally being able to help in three positions is giving me more chances to stay on the court.”
MILAN – “When I signed to play for Milan, I was aware of what to expect, because the Coach explained things to me clearly. I came with no personal expectations, only a strong desire to put myself in play, to try to measure myself at this level, around this pressure, knowing well that in Milan you have to always win in Italy, to do great things in the EuroLeague too. I came keeping my head down, working hard every day, listening to the Coach and more experienced teammates. The rest came naturally. I’ve been through difficult times, last year, more difficult times are expected, but my approach is to keep pushing, doing whatever it takes, listening to the Coach.”
MENTAL STRENGTH IN MILAN – “A lot, maybe people don’t realize it from afar, but here in this environment, this club, it’s perceived clearly, I mean the pressure for the results. I take it positively, it forces you to stay mentally ready, ready for every game, no matter the kind of competition. It helps to stay focused and forces you to try to improve.”
THE WINNING FREE THROWS IN ATHENS – “It was my coming-out party, a lot of pleasure, it was beautiful, many fans are still mentioning it to me. It was great, my first EuroLeague game with many minutes and the responsibility to make two free throws, down by one, with a few seconds left in the game, in a historic OAKA arena. It was my first adrenaline punch.”
THAT 21-POINT NIGHT VS. REAL MADRID – “We didn’t win, that is what is missing from that day. We have been up all night, against a top EuroLeague team. It was my first great EuroLeague offensive game. It’s something I cherish, unfortunately like I said we didn’t win.”
THAT SUPECUP TROPHY – “It’s unforgettable, when you win for the first time, that feeling is something that will stay with you forever. I felt that joy for me, for the people close to me and the ones that unfortunately are not with me anymore.”