Saint Mary's star Dellavedova gets his shot at Americans in Olympics

By Jeff Goodman | College Basketball Insider

Matthew Dellavedova will get his shot at the Americans tomorrow.

The Saint Mary's standout guard is just one of two college basketball players participating in the Olympics, with the other being College of Charleston's Andrew Lawrence. But Delly has received little to no fanfare despite logging heavy minutes for the Australian team.

"It's fine with me," he said Tuesday afternoon from London. "I'm just so happy to be here. This has been the ultimate experience so far. I'm soaking up every minute of it."

Dellavedova is no stranger to being overlooked, though. Despite putting up impressive numbers (15.5 ppg, 6.4 apt, 3.3 rpg) for a Gaels team that won the WCC and finished with 27 victories, he's still managed to fly under the radar.

But the world will be watching when medal play begins Wednesday and the Aussies get their shot against LeBron, Kobe and K.D.

"They've been playing real well," Dellavedova said. "We need to stick to our system and get stops, but those are obviously the best players in the world. It's going to be tough."

Dellavedova is starting in the backcourt alongside another former Saint Mary's star, Patty Mills. While Mills leads the team in scoring at more than 20 per game, Dellavedova is third on the team in minutes and is putting up 8.2 points and a team-high 4.6 assists per contest.

"This didn't cross my mind a few years ago," he said of getting the opportunity to play in the 2012 Olympics.

Dellavedova said he's hoping to use this experience to improve various facets of his game for his senior season in Moraga. The Gaels lost Rob Jones, Clint Steindl and Kenton Walker.

"Those are big losses, but we have some good players coming in," he said.

Randy Bennett, who is recovering from back surgery that forced him to remain off the road during the July recruiting period, will have a core of Dellavedova, Stephen Holt (10.4 ppg) and big man Brad Waldow (8.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg). With Dellavedova graduating after this season, it's important than the Gaels bring in talent to sustain the recent success -- and Saint Mary's has already received commitments from a pair of high-level recruits: Oregon wing Calvin Hermanson and New Mexico shooting guard Cullen Neal.

But for now, Bennett and the Gaels are focused on the Aussie backcourt of Mills and Dellavedova -- who will go up against an American team that is 59-1 since the bronze medal game in the 2004 Olympics.

"We've had a couple of big wins," Dellavedova said. "We came back from down 15 to beat Great Britain by 30 and then we won on the buzzer-beater against Russia," Dellavedova said.

But it'll be different for Dellavedova on Wednesday night when he finds himself being guarded by the likes of Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

"It'll be weird," he admitted. "And it'll be a challenge."

 
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