Some of the best players in college basketball had the opportunity to represent their countries in international duty this summer, with events such as the Under-19 World Championships and World University Games allowing those players to get in some quality playing time against solid competition.
Another competition of note was the Under-20 European Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, which came to a conclusion on Sunday. In the gold medal game Italy defeated Latvia 67-60, and it was an Ohio State Buckeye who led the charge.
Rising sophomore shooting guard Amedeo Della Valle didn’t see much playing time as a freshman last season, playing in 15 of the Buckeyes’ 37 games and posting averages of 2.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per contest.
His opportunity to represent his country allowed Della Valle to improve his game against some of Europe’s best young talent, and Sunday’s finale was simply the most recent step in a very productive tournament.
At one point in the fourth quarter Della Valle scored 13 consecutive points, making all three of his three-point attempts, after struggling with his shot for much of the afternoon. Della Valle finished the game with 19 points (17 in the fourth), and for his efforts throughout the event (13.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg) he was named tournament MVP.
So what does this mean for Della Valle in regards to his role with Ohio State this coming season?
That remains to be seen, as head coach Thad Matta returns every key perimeter contributor from last season’s Elite 8 squad (unless you count DeShaun Thomas as a perimeter contributor). There’s also the matter of incoming freshman Kameron Williams adding even more competition to the shooting guard position, with returning starter Lenzelle Smith Jr. leading the way.
But even with those questions, it’s safe to say that Della Valle’s summer playing for Italy won’t hurt as he looks to crack the Ohio State rotation in 2013-14.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.