Amedeo Della Valle was never Ohio State's best player during his tenure in Columbus. He never reached what might have been his "best case scenario", as some sort of Italian approximation of Jon Diebler. He was certainly a fan favorite though, and still had some memorable moments this season. Let's take a closer look at the 2013-2014 season for Amedeo.
Previous Season Stats: 2.5 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.3 APG, 7.2 Minutes, .385 3P%
Current Season Stats: 4.0 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 0.2 APG, 11.9 Minutes, ..324 3P%
We were mostly cautious about Amedeo, given his lack of playing time from last season, the potential for a crowded backcourt with Kam Williams, and concerns about his ability to physically matchup with the Big Ten. Even with Williams redshirting thanks to a bad case of mono, this prognosis felt pretty fair:
The next logical step is for Della Valle to become part of Thad Matta's preferred eight-man rotation. While he has all the tools of a sharpshooting guard, he lacked the muscle to fight through screens or man up defensively last season. If he put on some weight in the offseason, he'll be able to handle the physicality of a long season. With a crowded backcourt, as well as the arrival of Kam Williams, it remains to be seen whether he'll be able to crack that rotation or not.
Best Game: There may have been a few games with more impressive box scores, but the "Amedeo game" was definitely against Nebraska in the Big Ten tourney. With the team facing a huge deficit and struggling to score, Amedeo added 12 points and a completely implausible three blocks in 21 minutes to help jumpstart the comeback, leading to a 71-67 win.
In terms of pure fantasy basketball stat-stuffing, Amedeo also dropped 17 points (thanks to five three-balls) on North Florida, and 15 (on 3-3 shooting from downtown) in Ohio State's first regular season win over Nebraska, a 84-53 beat down.
Worst Game: Sadly, those scoring outbursts were a little few and far between. Amedeo typically didn't play in a game long enough to amass a truly putrid box score, but over a five game stretch when the team really needed offense (February 22 against Minnesota to March 13 against Purdue), Amedeo didn't make a single field goal. In fact, after beating Wisconsin on February 1, Amedeo would only make two more shots from the floor the entire regular season.
The Skinny: In an ideal world, Amedeo's role on the team would be as a floor spacing, three-point threat. The guy certainly wasn't recruited for his defense, or his penetration ability, or rebounding. So when you have a shooter that loses his ability to shoot, what do you do? Essentially leave him out of the rotation, even though the Buckeyes were starved for anybody who could hit a clutch shot. Amedeo did crack the eight-man rotation (or nine-man, if Marc Loving was getting any burn), but his dramatic decrease in three-point efficiency, coupled with his inability to significantly contribute in other ways (Nebraska game notwithstanding), limited his effectiveness.
The Prognosis: In a move that surprised many Buckeye fans, Amedeo decided to leave the program to go pro in Italy, signing with Grissin Bon Reggio Emilia. Amedeo had played well abroad before, (he won the MVP of the U-20 European Championship), and he gets to live in Italy and make more money than basically all of us did right when we got out of college, so it's hard to argue with his decision. Barring something exceptionally dramatic, we aren't going to watch Floppy-Headed Mayhem in the NBA, but even if his on the court career didn't work out like many had hoped, he was a great ambassador for the program, and his unexpectedly free scholarship could pay important dividends in the not-too-distant future.