In weighing options, Wood was enthused that Firenze’s coach Gabriele Giordani was so high on the former Wildkat. Indeed, a day after signing, Wood is the lead story on the Firenze website, www.affrico basketfirenze.com/abf/.
“The head coach was very interested in me,” Wood said. “That’s a positive, especially in Europe, which is a lot about finding the right situation. Some players have gotten released one, two or three times til they find the right situation and their career took off.
“I haven’t had a chance to talk to them yet but I did read an article earlier where [Giordani] stated I was his first [choice]. To read that I was the person he was most interested in on his list, I’m honored to be that name.”
Now that it’s moving up, the club is signing an American player for the first time. Wood expects to head to Italy in the middle or end of August to start training with Firenze. He said the first order of business upon going overseas is getting a mobile phone connection that puts him in easy contact with friends, family and social media. Otherwise, it’s much harder to adjust. Next is greeting his new teammates and getting his feet wet with the squad.
“I’m just blessed,” said Wood, who played college basketball at Valparaiso and Michigan State. “Ever since I figured out I was going to Italy it’s been surreal. When you hear about overseas basketball, you hear about Italy and Greece. To say I played in one of those leagues, that I’ve got to that point ... I’m blessed, and I’m proud of myself and proud of my family for staying on track.”
THE MALTESE HOOSIER
Former Tipton and Indiana University player Elston has signed to play with Floriana Francesco French Greens in the Maltese Powerade League. Malta is an island nation of more than 400,000 people south of Italy.