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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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lorenzo feature

Lorenzo Donadio is ready to start his next chapter in Italy

Donadio to play professional basketball and earn master’s degree in his home country

Basketball has the power to take players places across the globe. Just ask American University men’s basketball player Lorenzo Donadio.

The senior guard grew up in Rome where he started playing basketball at the age of 12. Around the age of 15, Donadio made it his goal to play professional basketball. Donadio’s basketball aspirations prompted him to move to the United States in 2018, when he was 17. The guard attended Admiral Farragut Academy in St. Petersburg, Florida and later graduated from The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland in Baltimore in 2020. During his successful high school career in the U.S., Donadio had double digit scoring averages at both schools and received an offer from American University.

Now, after six years in the United States, Donadio is poised to pursue his professional basketball aspirations back in Italy. The business administration major will be graduating from AU in May after having an impactful season for the Eagles. 

Donadio feels prepared to return home, citing his achievements both athletically and academically in the U.S.

“I feel like it's the right time to go back and start my career over there after six years here in the states,” Donadio said. “I feel like I did everything here, and then I'm going to get a degree, so I feel like it's time to be back and play professionally.”

Donadio, who joined the team in the 2020-21 season, saw his minutes and production increase each year. Donadio's gradual improvement resulted in him having a career year as a senior. The 6’4” guard averaged 9.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists during the 2023-24 season. The senior ended his AU basketball career with a solid 16 points in the Eagles' tough 80-57 loss to Bucknell in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals.

This past season, Donadio was the team’s starting shooting guard and occasionally played point guard. He proved himself as a scoring threat with multiple double digit outings during the 2023-24 season. Donadio also stepped up as playmaker after junior point guard Elijah Stephens suffered an injury. 

Donadio feels that filling in for Stephens at the point guard position this past season was an unexpected but valuable experience. 

“I would say just one thing this year with all the injuries is that you always have to be ready,” Donadio said. “I never imagined that Eli would get hurt, like Colin [Smalls], like a lot of people and then I would have to play the one spot for like five games in a row. So, I would say just be mentally ready and be prepared if anything happens.”

Jordan Gaitley, AU men’s basketball’s director of operations, said that Donadio was able to show his abilities as a point guard and scorer this past season. Gaitley believes that Donadio’s playing style will translate nicely to the next level. 

“He's a bigger guard, so instead of going over there and having to be a smaller guy where he's probably going to have to play the point guard, he has the ability to do what he did for us this year, where he played two- guard and backup point guard,” Gaitley said. “So, being able to do that allows him to find more time on the court instead of being cornered into one specific role.”

AU senior guard Chris Gleaton is confident in Donadio's ability to perform at the next level in Italy. Gleaton also admires the growth that his longtime teammate has shown at AU. 

“As a freshman, coming in he was definitely the most quiet out of our group,” Gleaton said. “And then now looking at where he's at, he's become a leader and somebody everybody on the team loves.”

Beyond NCAA basketball, Donadio has performed well at the international level. Since high school, Donadio has played for Italy in multiple FIBA tournaments, including the 2023 FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup

Donadio is satisfied with what he has learned through playing in both the U.S. and in international competitions.

“I feel like it's kind of different from here,” Donadio said. “Kind of like the physicality or just the rules. Like we have a 24 second shot clock instead of 30. I feel like it's a good mix to have. That's why I feel prepared.”

Donadio said that hopes to start out his professional basketball career in the Serie A2 Basket league, the second division of the Italian basketball league system. Donadio's goal is to one day play in the Lega Basket Serie A, the top basketball league in Italy. Donadio said that in May, he will officially sign with his agent who he has known since his sophomore year. The senior hopes to find a team by June. The Kogod School of Business student hopes to also pursue his master's degree upon his return to Italy.

Donadio said that his experience playing four years of NCAA basketball will help him once he starts playing professionally.

“I feel like it really helped me, especially on skills and a physicality standpoint,” Donadio said. “I feel like I grew every single year since I was a freshman. I always took steps forward.”

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Turner. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks and Isabelle Kravis.

sports@theeagleonline.com 


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