COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Buckeyes will welcome only one freshman to the roster for the 2012-13 season but Amedeo Della Valle isn't your typical player. The 6-foot-5, 190 pound guard comes to Columbus (Ohio) from Italy by way of Henderson (Nev.) and has been in the United State for only one year.
But the sport of basketball is not just limited to the country where it was born. Della Valle was already a standout basketball player in his home country and now has a chance to play on the major stage that is college basketball after picking the Buckeyes over Texas A&M and several other suitors.
On Thursday afternoon the Buckeye basketball team met with the media for its annual media day and per long time team policy, freshmen were not allowed to answer questions. That prevented only one player from talking, Della Valle. But his teammates were not shy to talk about the new Buckeye.
"It is unbelievable, his IQ is great ," forward Deshaun Thomas said. "He knows the game of basketball."
Rivals.com National Basketball Analyst, Eric Bossi agrees that Della Valle's knowledge of the game will be one of his strongest attributes.
"Della Valle is an interesting prospect to me," Bossi said. "He's got some barriers that he faces in needing more strength and learning the language. But, he does understand how the game of basketball is played and he's got a high basketball IQ and understanding of where he needs to be on the floor and what decisions to make."
Della Valle has the hair style that might fit the surfer culture of Southern California and has been called 'goofy' by his teammates, in the most complimentary of ways. That goofiness is meant as a term of endearment because when Della Valle steps foot on the court, things change. Thad Matta and each one of his teammates have raved about the knowledge of the game that Della Valle has brought into the program and while many were thinking that it might take the freshman guard a couple of years to find his place in the Ohio State program, it now sounds like Della Valle could find a role with this team, especially with a deadly outside shot.
The Buckeyes will be looking to replace the scoring of Jared Sullinger and William Buford this season. Last year the Buckeyes saw their three point percentage drop 8.6-percent after the loss of Jon Diebler to graduation. Ohio State loses 76 three point makes (76/213 37-percent, Buford led the team with 62 makes) and Della Valle, if ready could be someone who could catch fire and provide some much needed long distance shooting.
"Because of his IQ and size, Della Valle will eventually be pretty versatile as well," Bossi added. "I don't know that you can classify him as a point guard or a shooting guard. He's more of a perimeter player that you can plug into the one, two or three depending on how you want to play, time of game and what is being dictated by game situation."
The current group of Buckeyes have prided themselves on being a tight-knit group and have welcomed their new teammate with open arms to the family. But even they have to give the new guy a little grief and it does not appear that Della Valle has any problem being the center of attention, especially when it comes to his dance moves. Laquinton Ross does not believe that Della Valle would have much of a future on the professional dancing circuit.
"Amedeo's dancing his horrible," Ross joked. "It's not something you want to see, it's not something that is really pretty but he tries."
It is a good thing he was brought in to play basketball instead of for the dance team.
"He's not much of a dancer," guard Lenzelle Smith Jr. said. "It's a different style, I don't know, he's Italian so they do a little bit of different dances than they do here."
One thing is universal however, the game of basketball.
"You can definitely tell he understands the game and he picks things up quickly," guard Aaron Craft said. "Whatever you need him to do, he will do it 100-percent."
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