Argentina's Garino a real student of the game
WASHINGTON D.C. (2016 Rio Olympics) - School was in session for Patricio Garino last summer. That was true even though he was away from the George Washington University campus in the United States capital.
A 1.96m senior forward with the NCAA's Colonials, Garino spent several weeks with Argentina's national team in 2015. His aim had been to stay in shape at the training camp with the preliminary squad and gain experience from a great coach like Sergio Hernandez. He ended up making the team for the Pan American Games in Canada and the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.
What's more, he was a vital contributor in a squad that reached the Final in Mexico, which qualified the team for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. His 7.7 points per game was the fifth best scoring average in the side.
Argentina did not win the title. They fell to Venezuela in the Final. But it was a great summer for Garino. He got a basketball education like never before. He lapped up the opportunity to keep the same company with greats like Luis Scola and Andres Nocioni.
"It seemed as if I was learning to play," Garino said, "as if I was at a little school, listening to Luifa (Luis Scola), Chapu (Andres Nocioni), Sergio and all the guys," he said. "My knowledge was expanding, day by day, non only on the court.
With Luis and his diet, his routine of work in the gym and how he cares for his body; the attitude of Chapu on the court, like managing pressure and the situations of the game. It was constant knowledge that I received. My head opened completely and made me more aware of international basketball. - Garino
Garino returned to George Washington a better, more confident player. He is a big reason why GW have won 14 of their 18 games overall. They are 3-2 in the Atlantic 10. The team has a lot of work to do to reach the NCAA Tournament, yet the potential is clearly there.
If last year was important for Garino, this year is even more so. He has his academics to concentrate on, the possibility of being taken in the NBA Draft. Garino may have to hire an agent.
Then there is the national team. Playing at an Olympics could prove to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"The strategy is to go day by day and try to take it all in time," he said. "I'm going to focus on what I need to be doing at every moment. Now is the team in the NCAA, I will represent them and after the draft, and then the national team, where it is clear that I will put all my effort."