Growing Up ... Matthew Dellavedova

October 11, 2013
Matthew Dellavedova

Anyone who watched Matthew Dellavedova in the backcourt for Cleveland during Summer League knows that the Australian import is born leader.

On Thursday afternoon, Coach Brown shared a story about the 6-4, 190-pounder from pre-Draft workouts. Brought in to Cleveland with five other potential draftees, Dellavedova’s teams won three or four straight 3-on-3 games. Brown “traded” Dellavedova to the other team and that team proceeded to win the next three games.

“The leadership stuff, the intangible stuff – that’s hard to find,” said Brown. “And (Dellavedova)’s really, really good with that, as well as being an intelligent player and a capable player. But his leadership skills and presence and all the things you need to have on your ballclub to help you become a winning/championship-level ballclub – he brings that to the table.”

The native of Maryborough, Australia averaged 14.2 points, 5.6 assists and 3.4 boards after playing all four years at St. Mary’s College in California. He was Honorable Mention All-America in both of his final seasons – being named the WCC Player of the Year as a junior and a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award as a senior.

In four seasons at St. Mary’s, Dellavedova never averaged less than 12.1 points or less than 35 minutes per game.

With All-Star Kyrie Irving entrenched as the starting 1 and veteran Jarrett Jack in the fold, the rookie everyone calls “Delly” is attempting to win the third point guard spot with the Wine and Gold.

In today’s installment of Growing Up, Delly sits down with to talk about his athletic family, his influential coaches and a basketball life in the Land Down Under …

My parents were … both good athletes. My mom was a good netballer and track athlete and my dad played Australian football, basketball and tennis.

I have two younger … sisters and they both play basketball and netball.

Netball is kind of like … basketball, except you can’t dribble and it’s just a ring – it doesn’t have a backboard. It’s more of a female sport.

Australian football … is probably the country’s most popular sport, definitely in the southern states and over in Perth. Rugby league would probably be next.

Basketball is definitely … a growing sport in Australia. In junior participation, it’s right up there. There’s a lot of juniors that play in the national leagues, and it’s definitely growing over there as well.

I’ve been playing basketball … since I was four years old.

But I grew up playing … everything pretty much. Australian football, soccer, tennis, a tiny bit of cricket, a bit of field hockey. It was a small country town and everybody plays everything. It’s really good fun.

We didn’t have … high school basketball, like in the States. You just play locally just for a club team and then you play for your town against other towns. Then it goes to state after that.

I thought I might have a chance …to play at the level when I was around 16.

You always dream of … playing at the Olympics and the NBA, but when I was 16, I moved to the Institute of Sport – (which is like an eight-hour drive from my house) – to live most of the year, go to school and just play basketball all the time.

I always took basketball seriously … before then, but that’s when I guess it became more realistic that I’d have the chance to carry on.

I’ve been really lucky … because I’ve had some great coaches along the way. My dad coached me, obviously, growing up. And my mom and dad drove me around everywhere to basketball camps. Dave Flynn was a great coach when I was younger. Then, Marty Clark when I was at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra.

I think I first … dunked when I was 16 at a camp once, just while training. The rims might have been just a little bit low, I’m not sure.

My first dunk … in a game was, like, a a tip-jam. It was in the nationals, top-age, and we were playing against South Australia. And the ball sat up there just perfect and I got the jam. So I was pretty happy about that. I was pretty old – I was like 18 or 19.

I was really …pretty excited. And I definitely got a copy of the tape as proof.