Davide Casarin is no stranger to expectations given his name. But the U18 Umana Reyer Venice prospect insists he is working hard to earn everything he gets. Casarin arrived in Lithuania for the Euroleague Basketball Adidas Next Generation Tournament Kaunas after being named to the All-Tournament Team at the ANGT Belgrade last season, when he collected 18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.0 blocks despite being two years younger than the rest of the competition.
Even though he will only turn 17 years of age in May and has more eyes and pressure on him, Casarin has played well for Reyer, collecting 18.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.7 steals per game through his team's first three games.
"It's always a great honor to be here and play against these teams that are absolutely stronger than the opponents against whom we play in Italy. These kinds of games push us to do better and try to improve," said Casarin, who has slumped a bit as well, hitting just 32.6 percent on two-point shots and 11.1% from long range while also committing 4.7 turnovers in nearly 33 minutes. "I try to play as normal as possible. I know that every day the pressure gets higher, but I try not to think about it. I try to go to the court always focused on what I have to do and always try to do my best."
In addition to being a year younger than the other players in Kaunas, Casarin also bears the weight of a big surname. His father Federico Casarin played 13 seasons in Italy's top two leagues and remained active until 2017 when he was 51 years old. After he retired Federico Casarin, was appointed Reyer club president. Davide’s brother Andrea also played the game.
"The relationship with my father is always the same outside of the gym. But when the games or practices start, I don’t think of him as my father but as president. He treats me like a normal player, a young player, but not like a son," Davide said.
Casarin has already made his way into Reyer’s senior team. On May 12, 2019, he made his Serie A debut against Brescia, playing 3 minutes and even making a basket for his first points in front of the home fans.
"I was excited just to be on the scoreboard before getting on the court. Then I tried my best to use my chance; thanks to my teammates who helped me," said Casarin, who also played two playoff games against Trento - all before turning 16.
Those games came after Casarin’s performance at the ANGT Belgrade, which earned him a spot in the Adidas U16 All-Star Game played at the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four in Vitoria-Gasteiz.
Casarin has already gotten into six Serie A games this season, playing a total of 16 minutes and scoring 4 points with 1 rebound and 1 assist. He also has made his debut in the 7DAYS EuroCup, playing 1:50 minutes against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 1 of the Regular Season and then collecting 4 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in 13:40 minutes against Rytas Vilnius in Round 10.
"It’s fantastic. I can compare myself with the best players in Europe. This gives me great motivation to work harder every day. I see these great players and try to get inspiration from them," he said.
Casarin came into this season with new drive and motivation after a strong summer wearing the Italy jersey. He played two years up at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2019 and averaged 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals in four games. And then he played a major role in helping Italy take third place at the FIBA U16 European Championship 2019. He averaged 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.2 steals as Italy won its first U16 continental medal since 1991 and qualified for the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup for the first time since 2014.
"Thanks to these two important European Championships, I gained a lot of confidence to play this season, which I knew would be really hard because I know I have a lot of competition,” Casarin said.
Casarin splits time with Reyer’s senior and U18 teams - often practicing with each team on the same day. He also has individual workouts and weight training besides games. Despite being only 16 years old, Casarin says he feels welcome in the Reyer senior team locker room. Because they speak the same language, he said he is most comfortable with his Italian teammates. But he also feels accepted by the foreign players.
"The Americans treat me really like a younger brother. They try to give me tips all the time," he said.
Still, there is that name that accompanies Casarin everywhere he goes. And that gives him even more drive to show he deserves the things he is getting.
"I have to earn everything by myself," he stressed. Becuase Casarin knows the weight of expectations and he is doing a his best to deal with them in a positive way so far.