|27 June 2012|
| Italy's Alessandro Gentile was expected to skip the U20 European Championship this year in order to help the senior national team clinch a spot at EuroBasket 2013|
As if Andrea Bargnani's calf injury and the feared absence of Marco Belinell were not already enough, Italy's EuroBasket 2013 Qualifying campaign has sufferred another early blow.
According to Italian dailies Gazzetta Dello Sport and Tuttosport, coach Simone Pianigiani can no longer count with Alessandro Gentile, who has a shoulder injury and will undergo surgery on Thursday in Milano.
The 19-year-old guard was widely expected to be an exciting fresh addition to the Azzurri backcourt, with or without Belinelli.
Gentile, who averaged 18.2 points per game for Italy as they captured the silver medal at last year's U20 European Championship in Bilbao, was then named to the all-tournament team.
Acorrding to the newspaper reports, he is expected to be out of action for a minimum of thre months.
Gentile truly is a star on the rise and his absence won't help the Italians' chances.
The 2.00m guard began the 2011-12 campaign with Benetton Treviso and averaged 12.8 points in 27.6 minutes per contest in the Italian Serie A.
He then moved to Olimpia Milano in December and played for Sergio Scariolo's team the rest of the way.
At Milano, Gentile's time on the court dropped to 19 minutes and his scoring average dipped to 7.4 points.
He played all season, though, including in the Lega A play-off finals won by Montepaschi Siena over Olimpia Milano, 4-1.
Italy are in EuroBasket Qualification Round Group F along with Turkey, the Czech Republic, Belarus and Portugal.
Their opening game is at home to Portugal on 15 August.