Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Eritrean-Italian Basketball Star selected by National Italian Basketball Team & sinks 13 points in his first game vs Slovania.

Eritrean-Italian Basketball Star selected by National Italian Basketball Team & sinks 13 points in his first game vs Slovania.

Many of you remember Tomas Woldetensae from playing in the USA at the University of Virginia, where he played a huge role as a defensive player with a canny ability to sink three pointers. It was during his time at UVA when Eri-international sports tried to cover one of his games and bring him closer to his Eritrean roots. Then the COVID-19 epidemic came and college basketball and many other sports events were put on the back burner until things calmed down. As part of our effort to help build a strong Eritrean national basketball team utilizing players from the diaspora we thought we had a shot to bring the two current best Eritrean players playing in their respective countries. The other player Eritrean-Canadian Johnny Berhanemeskel was one of the top leading scorers in the French premiere league. Johnny also holds the record as an all time scorer in the Canadian college system. He was called to play for the national Team last summer and performed well for Team Canada and in the process giving up hope to be utilized on an Eritrean national squad. It is to be recalled that one of the first Eritrean-Americans playing in college Thomas Kelati made a great career in Europe playing for several teams including in Russia and Spain. He too ended up playing for Poland as he gained citizenship through his Polish wife. Thomas has since retired and currently has a financial business dealing with athletes.

Meanwhile, Eritrean-Italian Tomas Woldetensae who went back to Italy, where he grew up in Bologna. He was able to get a contract with a lower division team on his first contract at Chieti where the team went 8-14 in his first season. He played well for his team and started attracting bigger teams. He was selected to play for a Serie A club known as Varese during mid season after his coach was let go. He started performing even better under the guidance of coach Johan Roijakkers. He continued where he left off as he had some memorable games, including against Napoli and a season-high of 21 points against Cremona, two big wins for his club. Tomas stayed focused and his performances with Varese earned him the call-up with the senior Italian national team, his first ever for Italy. 

In Italy’s friendly game vs Slovania with NBA star and one of the top players Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, as part of the team his first game for Italy went well even though the Italians lost the game. While marking Doncic during the game he stretches his arm and snatches the ball, and goes on the counterattack where he sank in two points. He continues to play hard all throughout the game, grabbing the ball in the center of the painting as he faces the basket and shoots without fear from the three point range. 

He ended his first game for Italy with 13 points despite the loss. He was the best scorer of the game overall.  Tomas has been called up again to play for the Azzuri in a game to be played in Brescia for the right to qualify in the World Cup which is to take place starting on 4th July in the Netherlands. Even though Tomas has taken the opportunity to play for Italy, Eri-international sports will continue to follow him and connect him to Eritrea in the journey to build a strong Eritrean national team. Congratulations to Tomas for his hard work.


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