|28 March 2014|
BASKETBALL IN EUROPE
|Amedeo Della Valle led Italy to a maiden gold medal at last year's U20 European Championship|
A collaboration that involves the Italian club for which the development of young players forms a key part of its strategy and the Italian MVP of last summer's U20 European Championship, seems like a match made in heaven.
So while Amedeo Della Valle's decision to terminate prematurely his stay at Ohio State and the NCAA in order to return to Europe was rather unexpected, the announcement of his chosen destination was anything but surprising.
On Thursday, the Italian international, who turns 21 in two weeks, was officially presented to the media as a new player of Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia.
Della Valle has signed a five-year contract with the EuroChallenge semi-finalists and while he is not eligible to play in the Final Four at the end of April, he is poised to make his debut already this season, during the latter stages of the Italian Serie A league.
"We are very happy to have signed Amedeo until June 2019," said Reggio Emilia Sporting Director and former international player Alessandro Frosini.
"I have been watching him for a while, he was doing well at college in Ohio where it's not so easy to stand out.
"And then, he stole the limelight at the U20 European Championship.
"I was struck by his determination and we think that he can be a valuable addition to our team already this year."
In the final of the U20 tournament in Estonia last July, Della Valle poured in 13 consecutive points in the clutch to propel Italy to an amazing 67-60 comeback triumph over favourites Latvia.
The Azzurri conquered their first ever gold medal at this age group and Della Valle earned MVP honours not so much for his stat lines (he averaged 13 points and 3.7 rebounds per game in the tournament), as for being the player who provided an extra spark in the otherwise remarkably balanced side of coach Stefano Sacripanti.
"First of all I want to thank Pallacanestro Reggiana (the club) for this opportunity and the trust they've put in me," Della Valle commented at his presentation.
"The management, the staff and the players have all made an excellent impression to me.
"They seem to be fantastic people and the project they've presented me with is important and ambitious.
"I am happy that I will be a part of it, I am content to be back in Italy and by having signed now I will have plenty of time to adapt to the city and the team."
Interestingly, one of Della Valle's new team-mates is young Latvian international Ojars Silins, an opponent of his in the U20 final in Tallinn.
In addition to Silins, who is having a break-out season in both the EuroChallenge and the Serie A, Reggio Emilia also have on their roster the up-and-coming big men Giovanni Pini and Riccardo Cervi and the highly promising 18-year-old point guard Federico Mussini.
"Behind this agreement with Amedeo there is a project based on continuity, with choices made in order to bring the club to an even higher level than the current one in the future," Frossini explained.
"This project contemplates having an important base of Italian players who will be capable as well as passionate about their job and from this perspective, Amedeo is an important piece.
"We hope he will keep improving with us and become a great protagonist of Italian basketball."