Written by Chris Kubala
It was a disappointing end to the 2019-20 college basketball season when you got right down to it. There was no rendition of “One Shining Moment”, no cutting down the nets, no determining a national champion. Instead, we saw the season grind to a screeching halt during the middle of conference tournaments thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. That meant no conference tournament champions in conferences like the Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, the ACC, the SEC or the Pac-12. It meant no CBI, CIT, NIT or March Madness. There were no buzzer beaters, no Cinderella stories, no upsets, just a bunch of dead air and what-if situations.
That also meant that players found themselves in limbo. If they were a senior, their careers were likely over. Should a player transfer, they remain unsure as to whether they’ll be able to play in 2020-21 or if they have to sit out a season. It’s led to several players deciding to cut their losses, either declaring for the NBA Draft or taking their game overseas to earn a pro contract.
Such is the case of Texas Tech sharpshooter Davide Moretti, who is heading back to Europe to start a professional career, it was announced Saturday night. He has spent the last three seasons playing in Lubbock for coach Chris Beard but is going to make the move to the pros. It was announced by European agent, Misko Raznatovic, that he represents Moretti and that his client had signed a three-year deal with Olimpia Milano of the LBA in Italy. The team plays just two hours from where Moretti is from in Bologna and family played a big factor in his decision, according to reports. Olimpia Milano has a couple of former NBA players in Sergio Rodriguez and veteran power forward Luis Scola on the roster.
Moretti started his career as a role player in his freshman season, averaging 3.5 points and 12.3 minutes a night in 37 games. He became more of an impact player in his sophomore year, as Keenan Evans and Zhaire Smith had departed the program. Playing alongside Jarrett Culver and Matt Mooney, Moretti put together a solid season, ranking second on the team with 11.5 points plus 2.4 assists a game. He shot 49.8 percent from the field, including 45.9 percent from beyond the arc, and 92.4 percent at the free throw line. Moretti really came into his own in the NCAA Tournament, scoring in double figures in five of the Red Raiders’ six games. He scored 15 points in the Red Raiders’ 85-77 double overtime title game loss to Virginia.
Last season, with Culver and Mooney both gone, Moretti had to be more of a leader with Jah’mius Ramsey, the school’s highest-ranked prospect in history, on the roster. While he averaged a career-high 13 points a night, his shooting numbers regressed as he hit 41.9 percent from the floor, including 38.3 percent from three-point range, and 90.2 percent at the free throw line. The Red Raiders as a team slipped in 2019-20, posting an 18-13 record overall and a 9-9 mark in the Big 12 before the season was ultimately ended. It was a season of change with so much talent leaving in the two previous seasons, creating a need for new talent.
For Texas Tech, the 2020-21 season could be one full of the winds of change. With Moretti gone to play in Europe, that takes the team’s second-leading scorer out of the mix. Ramsey declared for the NBA Draft last month and hasn’t pulled his name from the mix as of yet. That would take the top two scorers from last year out of the mix. Beard is going to have to be active in trying to find personnel to plug in at this point. The school is still in the mix for Georgetown transfer Mac McClung along with the top prospect for 2021, Jonathan Kuminga. The Red Raiders do have an advantage as they have Kuminga’s brother, Joel Ntambwe, who transferred from UNLV after his freshman year of 2018-19 and will be eligible in the fall.
How things pan out for both sides remains to be seen but Moretti should be an impact player for Olimpia Milano, who has won the Serie A title in three of the last six full seasons of the league.