Daniel Kicket, Lucas Walker, Patty Mills, Carlin Hughes, Ben Allen, and Clint Steindl. This a list of players from the Australian Institute of Sport that came to Moraga before Matthew Dellavedova. And Dellavedova has had a better career than each and every one of them. There has not been one player to come through the Aussie pipeline that has produced at the level that Matthew Dellavedova has. His career statistics are a testament to that. Here is a look back at the fabulous career of Matthew Dellavedova.
Although Dellavedova was relatively unknown to the general public, he was not a diamond in the rough. ESPN ranked him as the 72nd ranked shooting guard in the class of 2009. This is an excerpt of a scouting profile from an ESPN recruiting analyst that was written in January of 2009:
Dellavedova is a strong guard with good size. He possesses tremendous point guard instincts and does a great job of creating off the dribble for his teammates. Dellavedova’s best attribute is his three point shooting ability. He is a big game player who has the ability to make tough plays and will not back down from a challenge and he is a fierce competitor. He is the #1 ranked player in Australia in the ’09 class and will be the starting point guard for the Australian Junior National team in the upcoming FIBA World Championships in July, 2009. Dellavedova currently attends the Australian Institute of Sport where he averaged 15.2ppg and 4.2apg.
Obviously a lot people had a lot of great things to say about Dellavedova while he was at the Australian Institute of Sport, but yet he garnered interest from only a handful of schools. Saint Mary’s pounced on this guy, and it payed major dividends.
Dellavedova made a major impact in his freshman season at Saint Mary’s. He averaged 36.4 minutes per game, which was more than any player in the entire conference. The freshman averaged 12.1 points, 4.5 assists, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game in his first season in Moraga. His stellar play earned him an honorable mention for the All-WCC team, and a spot on the All-WCC freshman team.
Dellavedova followed up his freshman season with an even better sophomore season. He was named first team All-WCC, and named to the All-international college basketball team by NetScouts basketball. He averaged 35.3 minutes, 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game during his sophomore season. This was the only season where Dellavedova did not start every game for the Gaels. He was forced to sit out the first three games due to a hamstring injury. The fact he only missed three games is a testament to his durability. It was evident from his first two seasons that Dellavedova was the next star at Saint Mary’s, based on his ability to produce in a multitude of different ways.
Prior to his junior season, Dellavedova was blessed with the opportunity of representing his country on the Australian national team. Dellavedova was the only college player to play on the Australia national team, and played alongside former Gael Patty Mills. He played 12 games in the summer of 2011, and help qualify the Australian national team for the 2012 London Summer Olympic games.
After competing at the international level all summer, Dellavedova composed another magnificent season for the Gaels. Dellavedova led the Gaels back to the NCAA tournament, after missing it the year before. Although they were knocked out by Purdue in the first round of the NCAA tournament, it was arguably the best season that a Saint Mary’s team has had in the history of the school. The Gaels won the WCC outright, and followed it up by winning in the conference tournament as well. For the first time in 11 years, Gonzaga had not won at least a share of the WCC title. Saint Mary’s dethroned the proverbial kings of the West Coast Conference, large in part to Dellavedova, who played such a crucial role in the team’s success that season.
The junior guard averaged 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 0.8 steals per game in the 2011-2012 season. Not only was he named to the all-WCC’s first team, he was named the conferences player of the year. In addition to that, he was an honorable mention AP all-american, and a finalist for the Bob Cousy award, which is given to college basketball’s best point guard.
In the summer of 2012, Dellavedova once again played for the Australian national team, except this time the stakes were much higher. Dellavedova and the Aussie national team participated in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, where they finished 7th. He averaged 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game throughout the duration of the tournament. He was faced with the challenge of guarding a number of great NBA players, which included Kobe Bryant, Chris Paul, Jose Calderon, Tony Parker, and Leandrinho Barbosa. Guarding players such as these must have been a fantastic learning experience for Dellavedova. He took that experience that he gained during the international circuit and implemented it to his senior season at Saint Mary’s.
In his best collegiate season yet, Dellavedova averaged 15.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game as a senior at Saint Mary’s. Like the previous season, he finished as an honorable mention for the AP All-American team, and a finalist for the Bob Cousy award. For the third straight year he was named to the first team All-WCC. He was awarded a great deal of other awards, such as being named to the NABC and USBWA All-District team for the second straight year, a finalist for the LOWES senior class award, and the Lou Henson player of the year award.
His signature moment of his fourth and final season of Saint Mary’s was a buzzer beater that came on the road against BYU on January 16th. After Tyler Haws knocked down a floater from just inside the key. With just over two seconds left, Dellavedova took the inbounds pass, took a about two dribbles, and launched a running three-point shot as he crossed half court that hit nothing but net. The Gaels snuck out of the Mariott Center with a 70-69 victory, thanks to the heroics of their leader, Matthew Dellavedova. His teammate Jordan Giusti cleverly nicknamed the shot a “Dellavedagger,” which most likely salvaged the Gaels chance for an at-large bid. A loss to BYU could have eliminated them from consideration. The play was featured on ESPN’s sportscenter as the “play of the day.”
Dellavedova concludes his career as a Gael, but not after essentially re-writing the schools record books. In the all-time Saint Mary’s career record book, Dellavedova ranks first in points with 1,933, first in three-pointers made with 288, first in free-throw percentage with .860, first in assists with 778, first in games played with 136, first in games played with 133, second in free-throws made with 468, third in steals with 149, and fifth in field goals made with 583. The frequency in which Dellavedova appears in the record books makes him one of the best players in Saint Mary’s history, if not the best.
If Dellavedova was not on an NBA roster next fall, it would be a travesty. His ability to score, rebound, and pass at a high level makes him unique to most combo guards. His career at Saint Mary’s can be categorized as illustrious, decorated, and overall just great. Saint Mary’s is losing a phenomenal player in Matthew Dellavedova, who is going to do fantastic things at the next level.