Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/3/13
Joe Dumars and Maurice Cheeks would get it if Gigi Datome’s head was swimming and his legs wobbly after playing 11 tough games for his national team in EuroBasket competition hopping on a plane and landing in Detroit immersed in a new culture less than 48 hours before Pistons training camp began. His teammates? That’s another story. “Those guys that are trying to get his minutes they don’t care” Cheeks said of the 6-foot-8 dead-eye shooter the Pistons signed off of an MVP season in the top Italian league where he led Rome to the finals. “In fact they’re glad he was over there playing. It’s the NBA. You’ve got to come in and fit in and try to make your mark.” Datome concedes the EuroBasket tournament and the opening of his first training camp could have been timed a little better but it’s not doing anything to dampen his enthusiasm for realizing a dream that seemed beyond his reach until his breakout 2012-13 season. “You can’t do anything about (the timing) so I’m so excited and so happy to be here” he said. “I will have time to rest end of the season. I’m so happy that I started finally because after two months (since signing) everybody was talking about me about NBA so I’m really excited.” Datome knows the level of competition is another notch above what he experienced in Italy or even with his national team and the difference was in evidence for him in early camp practices. “Best players in the world here” he said “so everybody is more quick more fast more physical and for sure also skilled. I can feel a lot of aggressive (play) on me in practice and it’s good. I’m going to get better for sure and I have to get used to it as quick as possible.” Cheeks says if Datome is fatigued from his EuroBasket experience or caught in the adjustment to a higher plane of competition it’s not showing in his play. “I’ve liked what I saw of him” he said. “He’s getting up and down the floor. He’s made shots.”
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