|Pistoia Basket 2000|
March 1, 1969 |
Caserta, Campania, Italy
|Listed height||194 cm (6 ft 4 in)|
|Listed weight||90 kg (198 lb)|
|NBA draft||1991 / Undrafted|
|1998–2001||Andrea Costa Imola|
|2002||Telecom Gran Canaria|
|2002–2003||Andrea Costa Imola|
|2004–2005||Andrea Costa Imola|
|2005||Polaris World Murcia|
|2009–2010||Aquila Basket Trento|
|2015–present||Pistoia Basket 2000|
|Career highlights and awards|
The majority of his career took place in Italy, where he was named Serie A MVP in 1999 and 2000, having earlier won the league with Juvecaserta in 1991.
The Caserta native started his career with hometown club Juvecaserta Basket during the 1984-85 Serie A season, at only 15.
With the Campanian club he would win the 1988 Italian Basketball Cup and the 1990-91 Serie A championship, the club's first (and as of 2015 only) national championship, during that time the team also played in the 1991–92 FIBA European League and the 1992–93 FIBA Korać Cup.
Esposito would move on to Fortitudo Bologna in 1993, playing there for two years.
Esposito had been noticed by NBA teams, the Cleveland Cavaliers through scout Rudy D'Amico and the Toronto Raptors through Bob Zuffelato. Though he had agreed terms with the Cavaliers, complications related to the NBA lockout meant he could only sign with the Raptors.
Though Esposito wasn't the first Italian to play in an NBA game – preceded by Stefano Rusconi by three days – he was the first to score, on a free throw in a 15 November game against the Houston Rockets.
He didn't played much during the Raptor's 21-61 season, with 30 games played, for an average of 3.9 points and 0.8 assists, in 9.4 minutes. His best performance was 18 points, 2 assists, 2 offensive rebounds, and 2 turnovers, in 30 minutes, during a 6 April 1996 loss to the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden.
Return to Europe
Despite having two years left on his contract, and amidst talks of a trade to the Philadelphia 76ers, Esposito returned to Italy to sign with Scavolini Pesaro in the summer of 1996. Penning a contract reportedly worth at least 1 billion lire net annually (more than 500,000 in euros today), Esposito was acclaimed as a star on his return. However, Pesaro struggled in the league, barely escaping relegation in the 1996-97 season, and Esposito felt he was being singled out for the team's shortcomings. The club and the player agreed to a buyout in November 1997, with the player moving to Mabo Pistoia.
He joined Andrea Costa Imola after the 1997-98 season, and there he would regain his top form, by top-scoring in the league for three consecutive years, whilst being twice designated as league MVP, in 1999 and 2000, and also All Star Game MVP in 1998.
He moved to Snaidero Udine in 2001, but he only stayed until January 2002, before having another foray abroad, in the Spanish Liga ACB with Telecom Gran Canaria, where he finished the season. He impressed in Spain by scoring more than 20 points on average, including 45 in an April game against Valladolid that assuaged relegation fears.
He returned to Imola, now of the second division Legadue, in 2002, staying there one year, before moving to fellow Legadue team Scafati Basket in 2003. Esposito stayed there until February 2004, when the nearly 35-year-old returned to the Serie A with Lottomatica Roma, to provide more depth to an injury-struck squad. He played less than usual, and finished with 3.5 points on average in the league, also scoring 14 in his first (and last) career Euroleague game, against Pau-Orthez.
Another return to Legadue followed in 2005, with Casale Monferrato, where he stayed until February 2006, as he signed with Capo d'Orlando for his last Serie A season. After being released in October 2006, he joined the third division Serie B1 club Gragnano (Italian) later that season. He signed with another Serie B1 side, Gira Ozzano (Italian), staying there for two years, before ending his playing career in 2009, at 40 years old.
Esposito finished his 25-year playing career with 762 games played, across all teams and divisions, with 13,286 points scored, for an average of 17.43 points per game.
After his retirement, Esposito started a coaching career with Aquila Basket Trento of the Serie A Dilettanti (the renamed third division) for the 2009-10 season, with the team finishing ninth. The next year, he coached Fortitudo Agrigento(Italian) of the same division, leaving after a year that saw the side relegated.
In July 2013, he returned to Imola, to coach the side that was still in the second division (now DNA Gold), after his side only won 1 game in 13, he decided - at 44 - to return to the side as player, leaving coaching duties to his assistant.
He rejoined another former club, Juvecaserta, in 2014, to serve as assistant coach to Lele Molin first and then Zare Markovski in the Serie A. When Markovski was dismissed in December, with Caserta at zero points in 11 games, Esposito took over as head coach. He helped them to 8 wins in the next 19 games, which gave them hope of escaping relegation, however the side lost their final game and were unable to achieve safety.
Esposito played for the youth national teams of Italy, playing in the 1985 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship, where he won a bronze medal, and the 1988 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, where he top scored for Italy, as they lost in the final.
He later joined the senior men's Italian national basketball team for EuroBasket 1995, where Italy made it to the quarterfinals and he was the team best scorer. Though he played in the qualifiers for EuroBasket 1997, he would not make the squad for the main tournament. Esposito never played again for his country.
Honors and awards
- 2x Serie A MVP: (1999, 2000)
- 3x Serie A Top Scorer: (1999, 2000, 2001)
- All Star Game MVP (1998)
- Legadue Top Scorer (2005)
- Serie B1 Top Scorer (2009)
- http://www.fibaeurope.com/cid_KNce8jInH7Qj1EsyH5rjn2.compID_GSf9wrCdHBkDZZk9UQoqE3.roundID_2579.season_2002.teamID_5956.playerID_2469.html "Vincenzo Esposito – player history."]FIBA Europe. Retrieved on 6 June 2015.
- "Laying the groundwork for the NBA in Toronto."Toronto Raptors. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.
- Talamazzi, Michele. "Esposito the first Italian in the NBA. Between shots, letdowns and that night at the Madison."La Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan, 7 March 2015. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- "Vincenzo Esposito". NBA. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- "Apr 6. 1996: New York Knicks - Toronto Raptors (Boxscore)."NBA. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.
- Talamazzi, Michele. "Esposito at Pistoia."RAI, Pesaro, 19 November 1997. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- Vanetti, Flavio. "Divorce under the basket: Pesaro releases Esposito."Corriere della Sera, 20 November 1997. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- Malo de Molina, Pablo. "Highlights."Liga ACB, 5 April 2002. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Spanish)
- "Italy: struggling Roma turn to the devil.", FIBA Europe, 19 February 2004. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.
- "2003-04 Regular Season round 14: Lottomatica Roma - Pau-Orthez (Report).", Euroleague, 19 February 2004. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.
- Aquino, Luca. "”Vincenzino returns. He's the coach of Imola."Corriere di Bologna, Bologna, 26 July 2013. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- "Technical staff 14/15."Juvecaserta Basket. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- "Vincenzo Esposito è il nuovo allenatore del Pistoia Basket 2000" [Vincenzo Espositio is the new coach of Pistoia Basket 2000]. Pistoia Basket 2000 (in Italian). 22 June 2015. Retrieved 29 June 2015.
- Forni, Francesco. "Vicenzino Esposito returns to the court at 44: now "El Diablo" wants to save his Imola."la Repubblica, Bologna, 23 December 2013. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- Giannoni, Carlo. "Enzo Esposito replaces Zare Markovski."Juvecaserta Basket, 22 December 2014. Retrieved on 2 June 2015.(Italian)
- "1988 European Championship for Juniors - Vincenzo Esposito.", FIBA. Retrieved on 6 June 2015.