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Marcaccini Says Arrivederci to Indiana, Knight : Basketball: Notre Dame High star to forgo Hoosier scholarship, will play instead for a club team in Italy.

August 25, 1993|STEVE ELLING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Former Notre Dame High basketball standout Monte Marcaccini will forgo his scholarship to Indiana this fall and instead will play for a club team in Italy, his mother said Tuesday.

Marcaccini, 18, will play for the Benetton junior team in Treviso. Marcaccini's older brother, G.C., signed to play with the Benetton professional team last month.

How the younger Marcaccini's decision will affect his amateur standing with the NCAA remains uncertain. Alicia Marcaccini, Monte's mother, said Monte will play on a team for players 18 and under and will not be paid.

According to those familiar with the Italian basketball system, professional club teams such as Benetton field five age-group teams, with players starting out as young as 10 and using lowered baskets. The oldest an amateur player may be is 19.

Monte will play for Benetton for one season, then will decide whether he will play in Italy as a professional, his mother said.

"It's very complicated and difficult to understand," Alicia Marcaccini said. "I've spent the past week trying to understand it all."

Warren LeGarie, a Venice Beach-based agent who has several clients playing in Italy, said that Marcaccini could soon prove to be a top prospect.

"If he stays there, within three or four years he could be the best Italian player in the league," LeGarie said.

Monte, a 6-foot-5 swingman who averaged 19.7 points and 11.4 rebounds for Notre Dame last season, was named The Times' 1992-93 Valley player of the year after leading the Knights to the Southern Section III-A title.

LeGarie, who said he is familiar with the circumstances of the Marcaccini family, said that the brothers already are eligible to play for the Italian national team, which is open to professionals.

Monte will live in Treviso with G.C., 20, who played last season at College of the Canyons after redshirting at UC Santa Barbara. G.C., a 6-5 swingman with a striking resemblance to his younger brother, signed a pro contract with Benetton in July that Alicia described as "very lucrative."

The pair's father lives in Italy and was in favor of Monte's playing abroad. "Monte's father feels that to secure (Monte's) future, it's better for him to be in Italy," Alicia Marcaccini said.

Alicia Marcaccini said she spoke to Indiana Coach Bob Knight this week. The coach was "extremely supportive and sensitive," she said.

However, Gregg Elkin, an Indiana assistant sports information director, said late Tuesday night that he was unaware of the family's decision and that Knight was in Colorado.

School begins at Indiana on Monday. Monte has been in Italy for the past week, his mother said.

Several former American standouts are playing in Italy, including Darren Daye and Winston Garland. Italian teams are allowed to have only two Americans on the roster. The Marcaccini brothers were born in the United States, but have dual citizenship, Alicia said.

LeGarie, the agent, said Italian league juniors are not paid, but that clubs cover expenses.

Terry Lyons, an official with the NBA, said that former St. John's player Marco Baldi played for Milan's junior team during the summer several years ago, but that he left in the fall in time to play college ball in the United States.

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