Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dellavedova Gets A Shot At The NBA

For one player the NBA Summer League experience with the Cleveland Cavaliers was the hopeful first step on the way to the NBA.

That one player is Matthew Dellavedova.

Dellavedova, a three-time first-team ALL-WCC selection of the St. Mary’s Gaels finished his collegiate career with a laundry list of accolades including being the all-time leader in points with 1,933, breaking Daniel Kickert’s record of 1,874, being the all-time school leader in assists with 778, all time three-points made with 288, assists with 761, free throw percentage of .860, with 133 games started and 136 games played.

But none of that mattered when Dellavedova stepped on the court for Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA Summer League over the past two weeks.

Dellavedova averaged 2.8 points. 3.0 assists and 2.6 rebounds per game over five games in the Las Vegas portion of the Summer League. His highest points total came in a 66-62 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans when he scored six, while his highest assist total came in a 70-62 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, where he dished out five assists.

“The role was different, but I still played point guard,” said Matthew Dellavedova. “I had to make sure my teammates got the ball in the right spot and help win games.”

Winning was something Dellavedova came accustomed to under Head Coach Randy Bennett at St. Mary’s in Moraga. Dellavedova left St. Mary’s with 105 wins and only 28 losses as a starter, winning the West Coast Conference as a junior, as well as reaching the NCAA Tournament three times and going as far as the Sweet-16 in his freshman year.

But the NBA is a whole new beast for Dellavedova to tackle.

“There were better athletes than in college, stronger as well,” said Dellavedova. “It was a much quicker game. A 24 second shot clock instead of the 35, and more space to cover on defense because of a bigger court, a bigger key, the defensive three second violations. It was more intense on every aspect of the game and possession.”

But Dellavedova already had a jump start on some his competition who might not have seen any caliber of NBA action before.

“Playing in the Olympics last year helped me get used to that,” said Dellavedova.

Dellavedova represented Australia in the 2012 Olympics, starting all six games for the Boomers, leading them to the tournament quarterfinals with averages of 7.3 points, 4.5 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. His assist total ranked him as the twelfth best among all Olympians in 2012.

Despite not coming home with an Olympics medal, the Olympics game play has helped to shape Dellavedova in becoming the player he is today, along with former Gaels Coach Bennett.

“He (Coach Bennett) recruited me to St. Mary’s, and I was blessed to play four years of basketball,” said Dellavedova. “It was an awesome four years, on and off the court. I made life long friendships.
 Basketball wise Coach Bennett taught me a lot, leadership wise a lot too. I could go on for a while, he taught me a lot of things. I will always be very grateful for Coach Bennett.”

While Dellavedova was just one of many looking to get a chance with an NBA club in the upcoming season, he is hopeful for his immediate future.

“I’m going to the Cavaliers training camp in late September, and I think I have got a good chance to make the team after training camp,” said Dellavedova. “Before that I am going to go back and play with the Australian National Team. We have six games versus New Zealand this year, then I will head back in early September to get ready for Cleveland.”

As for the Summer League, Dellavedova seemed to enjoy it, as the Cavaliers went 3-2 losing in the quarter-finals of the Inaugural Summer League tournament to the Miami Heat.

“It was good training, I got better, and learned a lot more,” said Dellavedova. “It was a good experience. It was good fun.”