Being cut from the Italian national team two years in a row took its toll on skilled guard Amedeo Della Valle. He had no excuses though, rather he just let his game do the talking.
Ettore Messina gone, and Romeo Sacchetti at the helm, Della Valle was keen to impress and at the recent FIBA World Cup qualifiers, the Reggio Emilia player averaged 20.5 points a game as Italy collected wins over Romania and Croatia to leave them in a strong position heading into the second window, which commences in February.
“[With] Simone I made the team and went to the Eurobasket (2015) when we played in Germany and then the next two years I was the last cut with coach (Ettore) Messina,” Della Valle explained to FIBA.com.
“So for me, being excluded two years in a row was a big motivation to perform.
“After the second time, maybe I started to think I wasn’t the right guy for Messina’s system but I didn’t use that as an excuse. I just started working even more. I was really motivated and I’m still very motivated that I can compete at this level and to prove I can play.”
And Della Valle has shown everyone that he indeed can compete at this level. But would he be considered for Italy’s final squad if they made the FIBA World Cup in China, just under two years from now? It’s an ongoing topic, that Spain’s Ricky Rubio said was unfair to the current players that recently competed in the first international window.
But Della Valle states that it’s about the team, not the individual.
I don’t know to be honest,” he admits. “For sure coach Messina used strong words. Definitely, it would be tough to help Italy make the World Cup and then not be selected because someone else is taking your spot. To me, it’s a big thing to play there. Everyone would want to. But what you have done before to get there is even bigger than just going there and playing. We’re young and we all feel like we can help the country. It’s not about one guy, one player, or being humiliated. It’s about one country.”