Five things I learned in Italy this year

Originally Published: June 18, 2006
By Chad Ford | ESPN Insider
TREVISO, Italy -- The fourth annual Reebok Eurocamp is over, and the camp remains the gold standard of predraft camps.

In almost every way, it beats what the NBA presents in Orlando.

Run by Minnesota Timberwolves international scout Pete Philo, the event is well organized, gives NBA front offices the opportunity to evaluate underscouted players in multiple settings and provides the media with exceptional access to both players and NBA personnel.

One head-scratcher is that not all the top NBA executives attend. While virtually every team in the league is represented here in one way or the other, this event should be a must for NBA GMs. In many cases, they haven't seen the players before. When an unknown prospect like Joel Freeland comes along, some GMs have little basis on which to figure out whether to pull the trigger.

Here are five things I learned from my trip to Treviso this year.

1. Andrea Bargnani is for real.
One of the great bonuses this year was the fact that the camp was being held near where Bargnani was practicing in preparation for the Italian League finals.

ESPN Insider was the only media source with access to him, and several teams, including the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Clippers, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Timberwolves, evaluated him in meaningful settings. We ended up seeing him in two practices and one Italian Finals game.

And as it happens, just days before the draft Bargnani is the only top prospect NBA teams and journalists can still watch in organized competition.

Chad Ford

Senior Writer, NBA Insider

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