Dellavedova Makes Australian Team, Could Become Only Current NCAA Hoops OlympianPosted by EJacoby on June 22nd, 2012
For all the speculation that Anthony Davis could end up earning a spot on Team USA for the upcoming London Summer Olympics, it seems highly unlikely that the future #1 draft pick will make the final cut. The same goes for several other former college players – for example, Fab Melo and Scott Machado – who have had to focus their time this offseason on the NBA Draft Combine and other local workout preparations rather than try out with their respective countries to make their Olympic squads. But Basketball Australia announced Friday afternoon that Matthew Dellavedova, St. Mary’s rising senior guard, has made the 12-man Aussie squad heading to London. The release notes that there’s “a strong possibility [Dellavedova] will be the only current college player to participate in the sport of men’s basketball at this year’s Games.” Dellavedova joins Patty Mills, another former St. Mary’s star, as lead guards for the ‘Boomers.’
There are some other college players or recent graduates who did not get invited to the NBA Draft Combine that still have a chance to make their international homelands for the Olympics. Yahoo! Sports‘ Jeff Eisenberg detailed seven NCAAB players vying to make the Olympics, but all of those players have faced challenging training camps to qualify for their countries, and none have yet made their teams. Deividas Dulkys has a good shot to make the Lithuanian team, but he’s also a recent graduate of Florida State and won’t return to the college game. Dellavedova, on the other hand, has already notched his spot for the Aussies and will represent his country in the Olympics as part of his training regimen for his rising senior season at St. Mary’s.
Dellavedova has had a terrific career for the Gaels, posting three-year averages of 13.7 points, 5.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds, 1.1 steals, and 37.6% shooting from downtown. The 6’4″ guard is adept at shooting from the outside as well as creating offense off the dribble for himself or others. He carried the Gaels to their first ever West Coast Conference dual-title as regular season and conference tournament champions last season, and he’ll attempt to bring his winning ways to Australia starting in late July. “Both Delly and Patty have proven themselves to be among the top players in Australia and it is quite an honor to represent their country in the Olympic Games,” said St. Mary’s head coach Randy Bennett. “In 2008, Patty showed how invaluable the experience of playing in the Olympics can be. Hopefully, Delly can have a similar experience, play well against the world’s elite players and return to Saint Mary’s this fall for a great senior year.”
Dellavedova as of now is the only college basketball player returning to school next year to make an Olympic squad, though some countries have yet to announce their final 12-man rosters. Also, the final three spots for London are being fought for in a qualifying tournament next week. But there’s a strong likelihood that Dellavedova will bring back to St. Mary’s next year something that nobody else in the country will have: Olympic experience.
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him on Twitter @evanjacoby.