Two days after losing a heartbreaker to Dayton in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, Ohio State found out it will lose the services of Amedeo Della Valle. The junior guard will play professionally in his home country of Italy.
“Amedeo is passionate about the game of basketball and wants to return to Europe to pursue a professional career,” head coach Thad Matta said in a statement. “We appreciate all the work he put in to make our team better over the last two years. We wish him well.”
Bucknuts.com is reporting the floppy-haired Della Valle will earn upwards of $300,000 over the next two seasons with the Italian club Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia.
Della Valle led the Italian national team in scoring with 15.1 points per game in the 2011 U-18 European Championships. In 2013, he earned MVP honors of the U-20 European Championships after leading Italy to the gold medal.
Della Valle averaged 3.6 points a game over two seasons and appeared in 48 career games.
Although he averaged fewer than four points a game, Della Valle was an energizer of the bench for the Buckeyes. He became popular with fans due to a frenetic playing-style and his trademark coif.
The highlight of his career at Ohio State came just last week when he helped key a comeback against Nebraska in the Big Ten Tournament. Della Valle finished with 12 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals, as the Buckeyes overcame an 18-point second-half deficit.
He was the lone member of Ohio State's 2012 recruiting class, choosing the Buckeyes over Texas A&M, Arizona and Michigan after a standout career at nationally-acclaimed Findley Prep in Henderson, Nev.
Della Valle's departure, along with Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., leaves Ohio State with two open scholarships to fill for the 2014-2015 season. The Buckeyes are pursuing Temple transfer Anthony Lee and are still waiting to hear who Myles Turner, the nation's top unsigned prospect for 2014, commits to. Turner has made an official visit to Ohio State, but is still finishing off visits before making a decision.
It's been real THE Ohio State University.Thank you for everything.Best experience of my life.Thank you BuckeyeNation! pic.twitter.com/2FYJBlEZRt
— Amedeo Della Valle (@Ame_DV_33) March 22, 2014