Texas Tech may be the United Nations of college basketball this season. Freshman forward Josh Mballa hails from France, as do player development director Max Lefevre and graduate assistant Elliott De Wit. Redshirt senior guard Brandone Francis is from the Dominican Republic.
Also, sophomore Davide Moretti hails from Bologna, the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. The 3-point specialist drains over 46 percent of his triples on the year en route to 11.6 points a game for the Red Raiders.
Against Michigan and Gonzaga, two of the top-15 defenses in America, last weekend in the West Regional, Moretti canned 5 treys to score 27 combined points. His efforts helped Texas Tech reach its first-ever Final Four.
Before watching the Red Raiders face Michigan State in the national semifinal (8:49 p.m. EST, CBS), let’s dive into Moretti’s background before he arrived in Lubbock.
How Davide Moretti Came From Italy to Lubbock
It was a special moment for Moretti on Saturday night in Minneapolis. His father Paolo and mother Mariolina Tozzi surprised him by flying to Anaheim last weekend for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. It’s unclear if the pair made it to Minneapolis this weekend.
According to Chuck Carlton at Sports Day, Moretti idolized dad, a former Italian national team player and coach.
Moretti’s father, Paolo, was a former forward on the Italian national team and then a longtime coach there. Even though he retired as a player when Davide was 3, his son still idolized him. Paolo was the catalyst for his son coming to the U.S. to play despite a growing reputation from the European and World championships.
Rather than enjoying the Bologna beaches, Moretti was determined to succeed like Paolo did.
“Every time my friends were at the beach, I was shooting at those goals,” Moretti said to Carlton. “They were acting like I was crazy, like ‘What are you doing? Why are you not going to the beach with us?’ “Even when it was like 95 degrees, I was there to shoot the ball.”
After excelling on the junior world and European circuits (as well as attending Treviso Basket for his secondary education), he fielded offers from the likes of Indiana, Connecticut and Utah. 247 Sports graded him as a 4-star combo guard.
As Andrew Kahn of MLive writes, Lefevre is a motivating factor for many international players to come to Lubbock.
Several Texas Tech players credited Lefevre when asked how they ended up in Lubbock. He played college basketball in the United States as well. “Once they visit or get on campus, that’s when I can really have an imprint on them,” Lefevre said. “I can be like, ‘Hey, man, I’ve been through this.’ It can be a scary decision to come (to the United States).”
Moretti committed to play for Chris Beard and Texas Tech in June 2017. Due to Virginia’s heart-stopping win in the other national semifinal, he will get a chance to play another Italian in Cavaliers guard Francesco Badocchi. According to SB Nation’s Caroline Darney, the two know each other from their times playing on the Italian circuit.
After a seaon getting comfortable, Moretti has proven to be one of the most dangerous perimeter threats…back in American and internationally.