Many college students like to travel, especially during the summer, but few could put together these frequent flyer miles in less than three months.
The itinerary included (in order) Moraga, Australia, China, Australia, London, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Australia, and Moraga again.
That was the summer of Saint Mary’s junior Matthew Dellavedova, who was the world traveler over the summer, touching down on four continents and earning an Olympic berth along the way.
Dellavedova earned a spot on the 12-man Australian National Team prior to the start of its Olympic-qualifying series against New Zealand in early September.
“I was pretty excited because I had missed the year before,” Dellavedova said.
But he did not rest on his laurels and continued to improve and contribute for the Boomers.
Over the 13 games he played during the four events, Dellavedova averaged 6.7 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.0 assists but was heralded for his defense during the Olympic-clinching series against New Zealand.
“Playing against some great players will definitely help me this year,” Dellavedova said. “Getting all the training against the older players [is great experience].”
Prior to the Olympic qualifier, the Boomers participated in tournaments in London, China and a two-game set against Spain.
Dellavedova is the youngest member of the Boomers and is one of three players with ties to Saint Mary’s.
Former Gaels Patty Mills and Daniel Kickert were also on the roster and shared stories with the current Gael, including their battles with Gonzaga and Santa Clara, Dellavedova said.
“They always offer little tips,” Dellavedova said. “I definitely enjoyed hanging out and learning.”
Mills, who was drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2008, left Saint Mary’s after his sophomore season and was on the Australian Olympic team in 2008.
Kickert is the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,868 points.
Dellavedova has his own share of moments against West Coast Conference foes but would like to erase the memory of the final month of last season.
“[I was] very disappointed about how the season finished last year,” Dellavedova said.
Saint Mary’s finished with a share of the WCC regular season title but could have won its first outright title since 1997 if it hadn’t let a game at last-place San Diego slip away.
The Gaels will be looking to the third-year starter took take on more of the load as reigning WCC Player of the Year Mickey McConnell graduated last May.
“I’m looking forward to playing with [Stephen] Holt, Jordey Page and Paul McCoy,” Dellavedova said. “Building on the chemistry we already have.”
Page and McCoy are coming off redshirt seasons and will help a team that struggles with depth last season.
If anything, Dellavedova took from the summer and the end of last season was to be consistent and to play together.
“You have to be consistent and bring it every game,” Dellavedova said. “It’s fun to play on a team that’s working towards one goal.”
An outright WCC championship.
WCC players in International competition:
Matthew Dellavedova, JR, Australian National Team
Clint Steindl, SR, Australia’s World University Games Team
Julian Clarke, FR, U-19 Canadian National Team
Kelly Olynyk, JR, Canadian Senior National Team
Mathis Monninghoff, SO, U-20 German National Team
Ashley Hamilton, JR, Great Britain Senior National Team
Namanja Mitrovic, SR, Canadian Senior National Team (participated in camp)