As we reported few days ago, the latest recruit of the Red Raiders in this 2017 offseason is the Italian guard Davide Moretti, who committed after a trip in the US to decide where to play. He also had offers from Indiana, Utah and UConn and follows other Italian players who decided to play basketball in US colleges like, among others, Daniel Hackett (USC), Amedeo Della Valle (Ohio State) and current St. John’s point guard Federico Mussini.
Let’s have a look at this new acquisition and try to better understand what he brings to the current roster.
The last name Moretti is well known in Italian basketball: Davide’s father, Paolo, is a former member of the Italian national team and coached many teams in the Italian First Division, the Serie A: Paolo himself is the coach who made Davide’s debut in Serie A possible, in 2014 at the age of 16.
Last season, Moretti played in the Italian second Division, with Universo Treviso, where he averaged 12.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.2 assist per game and was one of the best players of the team, that was recently eliminated in the quarterfinals of the playoffs for the promotion in Serie A.
Moreover, in the 2016 FIBA U-18 European Championships, he averaged 14.8 points and five assists per game, helping Italy reach the bronze medal. This is a very important thing to point out in this analysis: Texas Tech is adding a very experienced player who renounced a professional contract (maybe also in Serie A) to play college in the US. Why? Coming to Lubbock can be a win-win move for both the player and the team: Moretti can experience a different style of basketball, a style that he could not find in Europe, more physical and more intense, while the Red Raiders bring a player who has faced and played with veteran teammates who have been pros for a long time and know all the tricks of the game. For example, Moretti faced Stefano Mancinelli, 34 years old, who has in his career a NBA Summer League with Portland and 146 games with the Italian National Team.
With a height of 6-foot-3 and a weight of 171 pounds, Moretti can play point guard (where he has been used most during this season) or shooting guard. He increased physically in the last two years and added some weight, improving his ability to resist bigger and tougher opponents, which was one of his biggest weaknesses.
His best offensive skill is, without doubt, his ability to shoot from behind the three-point line, but in recent years he has managed to diversify his playing style adding, despite his non-exceptional size and athleticism, a good penetration to the basket with his interesting agility and ball-handling skills. If fouled, he is very accurate from the free-throw line. He is not known for his passing ability, but this is an aspect of his game that is absolutely underestimated. Moretti has good vision and can set up his teammates with proficiency, even in drive and kick situations.
Historically, the biggest weakness of European players (and Italians in particular) coming to American colleges is the lack of physicality. Despite the above mentioned improvements, Moretti still has some problems on the defensive side of the ball, where he struggles against bigger players and, in detail, can have trouble defending the pick and roll, where often he cannot overcome the screens. We can register big improvements also in these fundamentals, where he can now put more pressure on the opponent with the ball and have better footwork.
In the end, coach Chris Beard finds a player who is very experienced for his age, maybe a little undersized for American parameters but who speaks enough English to fit immediately into the Red Raiders’ scheme, and that is not granted for every European player. It is obvious that he will need a period of adaptation: European players must adjust quickly to living in a college, being a student-athlete and not a professional player, staying more than 5,000 miles away from home and in a culture that is very different from Italy’s. Theoretically, Moretti is a smart player who has the possibility to contribute immediately to the team’s success.
We can say “welcome” to Davide, or better yet, “benvenuto!”