A scrappy Australian import who made a name for himself at little Saint Mary’s College and who has bulled his way into the ranks of bigger name, bigger salary, bigger ego NBA players will return to Moraga this week to have his jersey retired by his alma mater.
Matthew Dellavedova, a scholarly hoopster who studied the biographies of great leaders in order to find ways to better inspire and motivate his team while playing for Saint Mary’s, leaves his current role as a reserve guard for the Cleveland Cavaliers to return to Moraga Saturday to see his shirt hung – only the second Gael in school history to be so honored. Dellavedova’s number “4” will join the linen worn by Tom Meschery, a Gael one jaded sportswriter described as “some guy no one’s ever heard of who played in the NBA in the 60s.” We thought that rather brutal but we guess that’s how it is in the world of sports.
Fans can write Sam Allard, the guy who wrote that, here.
Meanwhile, the desciples who gather at McKeown Pavilion for the periodic love fests that are Saint Mary’s basketball games continue to hold the slightly tousled-headed, always humble but inarguable on-court squad leader Dellavedova in high esteem, pointing to his “everything on the court” enthusiasm and unselfish “whatever it takes to win” game generalship.
An undrafted rookie for the Cavaliers who has gotten some (good) press for his high energy, never-say-die approach to defense as well as for his commitment to his team, “Delly” as he is known back in Moraga is St. Mary’s all-time leader in career points, three-pointers, assists, free throw percentage, games played and games started. As Allard, the guy who dissed Meschery, wrote: “He is, in the the world of northern California college hoops, a bit of a legend.”
We’d say he got that bit right.
Who can forget Delly’s greatest on-court moment for the Gaels, taking an outlet pass with seconds ticking off the clock in Utah and launching a running three-point buzzer beater to instantly silence a boisterous BYU crowd in their home gym, and all in front of his parents who had flown in from Australia to watch him play.
It will be nice to have him back in Moraga for a while.