SPIRE Institute and Academy (IA) welcomes two international students to the post-graduate program this fall. Stefano Faloppa and Nicolò Nobili both began their high school basketball careers in Italy before moving to the United States to pursue their passions.’
A native of Bologna, Italy, Nicolò Nobili came to the States to realize his dream of playing collegiate basketball. The 6’10” forward chose SPIRE for his post-graduate experience after also considering offers from Holy Cross, Sam Houston State, Boston, Lafayette and Lehigh.
Seeking to improve his game, Nicolò believes SPIRE can help him better develop the offensive skills necessary to become an even bigger contender on the collegiate court.
“Coaches like the versatility I have since I’m big and have size, but I’m skilled and can play with the ball, shooting, handling and passing,” Nobili said. “I understand the game pretty well and that’s why I play as a big playmaker – bringing the ball up, being able to score and to make plays for me and my teammates.”
The post-graduate came to the U.S. just prior to his junior year, graduating from St Paul VI Catholic High School in Chantilly, VA. Nicolò brings a lot of experience to the game, having played for Virtus Segafredo Bologna, the oldest Italian professional basketball club in Italy.
Like his fellow Italian compatriot Nicolò, Stefano Faloppa also came to the United States just before his junior year of high school to pursue his dreams of playing collegiate basketball.
The 6’8” Faloppa is a native of Venice, Italy, transferring to the States in the summer of 2019 to attend Holy Cross Prep Academy in New Jersey. Prior to coming to the United States, Stefano was honing his skills at the exclusive Stella Azzurra Basketball Academy in Rome.
Faloppa held an offer from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis prior to a coaching change. He has decided to enroll at SPIRE to improve his game and garner more attention from colleges and universities nationwide.
For Faloppa, basketball was the easy part of transferring to the states. “It’s a whole other culture. It’s a whole lot of work, but I’m getting used to it.”
Being from Venice, Faloppa is not a big fan of Italian food in the states. “Italian stuff is like — I don’t know. The pizza isn’t bad, but it’s different.” Stefano laughs. “But I like American food. I like cheesesteaks and cheeseburgers. I also really like Mexican food.”
A Promising Future for Noboli and Faloppa
Post Graduate Head Coach Jeff Sparrow is excited to watch the teens progress at SPIRE. “Both players have an unbelievable foundation to their respective games. They were taught at an extremely HIGH level in Europe,” explains Sparrow. “Because of this, their Basketball IQ and habits are off the charts. Within our offensive system, they are the type of players that will have coaches watching our film over and over again.
“While both are big players, they play with a complete skill set that includes the ability to pass, dribble and score at all three levels. Their growth at SPIRE on the defensive end will have coaches at the highest level going crazy.”