ANAHEIM — Davide Moretti went viral early Thursday because of a video Texas Tech posted on Twitter.
The Texas Tech sophomore then made waves Thursday night because of his play against Michigan in the Sweet 16.
Texas Tech coach Chris Beard summoned the Bologna, Italy, native to speak in front of the Red Raiders in a team meeting, specifically to talk about who he plays for.
What he didn’t know was that his mother and brother sneaked into the back of the room after traveling from Italy to see him play.
Before he could finish his sentence, Moretti noticed his family in the background and was overcome with emotion before hugging his brother and mother as his Red Raider teammates applauded.
“It was amazing,” Moretti said after the Red Raiders 63-44 win over Michigan. “I wanted so bad for my family to watch me. My dad had watched me a couple of times last year, but I wanted my little brother and mama to watch me and live the moment together with me.”
Moretti hit his first five shots of the night to spark the Texas Tech offense which was held in check for 20 minutes by Michigan’s defense.
In the second half, Moretti’s 3-pointer was part of a surge that buried the Wolverines, and it all happened in front of his family.
Moretti finished with 15 points as the Red Raiders advanced to their second consecutive Elite Eight, where they will face No. 1 seed Gonzaga on Saturday.
“My mom had never watched me play here, so it was kind of special for me,” Moretti said. “I play for my team first of all, and then for my family right after that. It was really a special moment for me.”
Moretti said he didn’t know they were in Anaheim, but thought something was peculiar because he read an article that said his father, Paolo Moretti, who coaches basketball, was in the United States.
That coupled with radio silence from his family for two days, tipped the younger Moretti off that something was happening.
Tariq Owens, who rooms with Moretti on the road, said the team understood how important the night was for their Italian teammate.
“It meant a lot to Davide. We all are really close,” Owens said. “The fact that his family was here all the way from Italy means a lot. We’ve spent a lot of time together. He is my roommate on the road and he has spent so much time talking to his family. I know how much it means to him.”