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Zags Eyeing Elite 2012 Talent: Catching Up With Amedeo Della Valle

Findlay Prep's Amedeo Della Valle burst on to the scene after an excellent performance for Italy at the European Championships.
Findlay Prep's Amedeo Della Valle burst on to the scene after an excellent performance for Italy at the European Championships.

Over the past six months, it has been clear that one area that the Gonzaga coaching staff is looking to upgrade heading into next season is the combo guard depth. With the Zags often employing a three guard lineup of David Stockton, Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., the lack of a long and tall guard has been apparent. With that in mind, it should come as surprise that the coaching staff has its eyes on Amedeo Della Valle (Findlay Prep), one of the top uncommitted guards in the nation.

After an excellent performance at the European Championships this past summer, the Italy native made the decision to come over to America and play a year of Prep ball. The goal of playing college basketball outweighed the opportunity to sign a professional contract for the talented guard.

"I made the decision (to come to America) after the European Championships at the end of August," the Findlay Prep guard told Slipper Still Fits. "The main reason was because I really wanted to play college basketball because of the environment. I was supposed to sign a contract before the championship, but then I just changed mind because I came to work out in Chicago and just loved it here."

Playing at Findlay Prep, which is one of the elite programs in the country, has allowed Della Valle to compete against some of the elite talent in the country. According to the Italian guard, there have certainly been some adjustments he has had to make to the speed of the game.

"The first thing is, the game is faster here, and there are quicker and stronger players," explained Della Valle. "The players here are more athletic, but in Europe, there are more skilled players who can read the game better."

Although he has just been here for a few months, Della Valle has caught the attention of some of the top programs in the nation. At this point, three schools on the West Coast are coming after him the hardest, but the Findlay Prep guard knows that location will not be one of the factors in his decision.

"Gonzaga, Arizona and UCLA," said Della Valle of the schools recruiting him the hardest. "I don't really care about the location; I'm just trying to find the best place. I would say the first thing (he is looking for in a school) would be to play right away during my freshman year. Also, I am looking for a great coach and the style of play."

The Gonzaga coaching staff has been recruiting the highly-rated guard for a long time and recently made a trip to Las Vegas to see Della Valle in action.

"Coach Lloyd has been my main recruiter. We played a game in Vegas a couple of days ago, and Coach Few, Coach Lloyd and another coach were all there to watch me."

With all the recruiting attention, Della Valle is gearing up for the next stage of his recruitment, which will be to take official visits. After these visits, the Italian guard will be able to talk with his family and come closer to a decision.

"I will probably visit UCLA, Gonzaga and Arizona for sure," explained Della Valle. "Then, I'm not sure about the other two visits. My family will have a big role and my dad will help me with the decision."