Amedeo Della Valle Interview
By Davide Bortoluzzi / Draftology
Amedeo Della Valle is one of the most talented European prospects of his generation, and with Alessandro Gentile he'll probably be the future of Italian national team. He's now in his senior year at Findlay prep., but next year he'll be playing for a national college basketball powerhouse, with high chances to play the hoop summit.
Over the last few years you have become one of the most interesting prospects in Italian basketball, as you proved in the last Under-18 EuroCup. What led you to choose the USA and the NCAA as your path toward professional basketball?
Amedeo Della Valle: It was my passion and my love for the US. I had been here several times beforer to work on my game, in places like Chicago and Miami. And every time I was really well impressed and happy about the experience. Eventually I decided to come here because I think that, at the current state of things, it's easier to emerge in the US than it is back in Italy. Here you just practice in a different fashion.
And why did you choose Findlay Prep?
Amedeo Della Valle: Simply because here there have been some great players who now are in the NBA, such as Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph ; besides, this year's team was engineered to win the championship. And plus, for me to be able to practice everyday with some of the best players of my age is a great stimulus and a once in a lifetime opportunity.
You had scholarship offers from Div. I universities such as California, Georgetown, UConn, Utah, Arizona, Gonzaga, St. Mary's, and Portland. Talk about the recruiting process: what does it look like from the inside?
Amedeo Della Valle: I was first contacted during the EuroCup. Coaches e-mailed me and talked about the potentialities of their programs as well as their intention of offering me a scholarship. Up to this point, most of the contacts between me and the coaches have taken place through mail and e-mail: every day I would get at least five letters from different universities in which they tell me about all the great things they can offer me...Plus, twice a week the coaches have the opportunity of calling me and speaking to me directly. Sometimes we would even have college scouts at our games.
When are you going to make your decision? Do you have any scheduled visit?
Amedeo Della Valle: I am not going to make a decision anytime soon. In the meantime, I already got three more scholarship offers from UCLA, USC and UConn, after I talked to Jim Clahoun. I will really have to ponder my decision: I will choose according to what college will give me the best opportunity to play, since that is what I am here for. But any university I will choose, they will have to be aware that I could potentially go back to Europe at any time if my process of adjustment didn't go well. Therefore, it'll be important for them to understand that a good part of my decision will be affected by this: the opportunity to play and grow as a basketball player.
In Europe you have proved you can play all three positions in the backcourt: what do you think you'll end up playing in the NCAA?
Amedeo Della Valle: Here in the US I can't play small forward. I think I am a little undersized for that. I believe that eventually I'll end up playing point guard.
What are the main differences that you noticed between how the game is played here and back in Europe?
Amedeo Della Valle: The average level here is extremely high. I bet we would win the Under 18 EuroCup if we could play in it. The physicality and the athleticism are off the chart. But the fundamentals are really good too: I got plenty of teammates with great ball handling and shooting abilities. The only aspect of the game in which I believe Europeans are superior is the tactical one. I can definitively see that when we match up against other teams...
One last question: do you ever think about the NBA?
Amedeo Della Valle: Before the EuroCup I hadn't really thought about it that much. But then some scouts started talking to my dad and began to present the opportunity of actually getting to the NBA. When I chose to come play for Findlay I also did it to try to chase this goal: playing in the NBA. I was told I will probably play in the Hoop Summit this year, and a lot of the guys that played there are now in the NBA. But I definitively still have a long way to go. I am just here to work and get better.