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The season of truth for Amedeo della Valle

October 15th, 2013 · No Comments

Around 2010, the name of Amedeo della Valle appeared first in the European scouting circles as a flashy and superbly quick Italian PG of the future. Playing for Junior Casale, della Valle impressed some scouts traveling around Italy before making it to the Italian U18 National Team in 2011. The next season might be a crucial one for the MVP of the U20 European Championship so here we go for an analysis.

He amazed everybody with that U18 Team during the European Championship in Poland until he injured himself and could not compete anymore in the decisive phase of the event. This was a big miss for the Azzurri and the potential Medal team lost to Turkey in the Bronze Medal game. Della Valle, whose father was playing on the professional level in Italy during multiple seasons, decided to make the move to the United States and played the 2011-2012 season at Findlay Prep where he emerged as a top level prospect and got recruited by Ohio State. For the Buckeyes, his impact was quite limited in his freshman year and he saw only some minutes here and there in blowout victories.

During this summer though, the 1m92 tall Italian combo guard showed with the Italian U20 National what his real value is. With that same generation that he lead to the semi-finals in Poland two years, he went for the Gold Medal this year gaining the MVP trophy and averaging 13.0ppg, 3.7rpg and 1.4spg in a pure scoring role on the SG position.

Della Valle excelled during the tournament in Estonia with his great speed that helped him to be a serious force in the open floor. On the fastbreak and transition, he was sometimes unstoppable as his ball handling and speed changes allowed him to pass by defenders easily and as he is not afraid to finish in the paint, he could create multiple baskets close to the hoop for himself. With his excellent footwork, he slalomed through defenses pretty well and his inspirational and creative playing style opened the gaps perfectly for him on the drive.

The Italian guard has also a nice floater from the top in his arsenal that he could use especially well in the set play. Used mostly off the ball, he moved well in the gaps on defense playing effectively even without being the major ball handler of his team. This is certainly a very positive aspect as he will be in a similar role with Ohio State in the next years. His body control is good and gives him cat-like movements to finish and allows him to catch also tough or bad passes on the fast break. However, as he likes to put the ball on the floor that much, della Valle goes often the risk to run “into a wall” generating a good amount of turnovers or bad shots. This is a reason for his below average shooting percentage from two-point territory but it also underlines his shortages as a future on the point guard position as his court-vision seems to be only average.

An interesting aspect of his game is that della Valle also showed some post-ups against smaller defenders. This will certainly not become a major part of his game when playing NCAA basketball but could be an interesting option in a professional future in Europe. His outside shooting is correct at the moment without being good though and the 93 born has clearly a tendency to go more on the drive than the shot. In catch-and-shoot situation, he needs to become more regular while he likes to create his own shot out of the dribble where he goes often for off-balance executions.

On the defensive end, della Valle needs to progress the most. Despite a very good wingspan and good speed in general, his lateral mobility is not as good as you could expect. This is probably also his major weakness that prevents him from having more impact with the Buckeyes. He has improved in this area but he remains below his actual potential. He is an interesting defensive rebounder for his size which also allows him to start fast breaks quickly and use his strengths in transition.

The 2013-14 season will probably a decisive one for della Valle at Ohio State. If he can gain a serious minutes on a younger Buckeye roster, his career in the United State can have a new turn. Thad Matta, the Ohio State coach, expects him to become better on the defensive end and stabilize his outside shot. Della Valle has done his part of the work on the physical side as he is reported to have gained 15lbs during the summer but he also showed his leadership and enthusiasm by driving his Italian U20 National Team to the Gold Medal. The question mark though is if he is able to crack the rotation to a level that satisfies his own expectations. If this is not the case, an early return to Europe might be an option for him in the near future.

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