Matthew Dellavedova - CBS 5 - KPHO

Matthew Dellavedova

(Source: St. Mary's Athletics) (Source: St. Mary's Athletics)
(Source: St. Mary's Athletics) (Source: St. Mary's Athletics)
(Source: St. Mary's Athletics) (Source: St. Mary's Athletics)
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#4 G, Junior, St. Mary's Gaels

The St. Mary's basketball team discovered an untapped resource for recruits about 10 years ago: Australia.

Head coach Randy Bennett's pipeline to Down Under began with a last-second recruitment of Adam Caporn in 2001, Bennett's first season with the team.

St. Mary's (7) vs. Purdue (10) - Friday, Omaha, NE

Caporn, now an assistant coach for the Gaels, recounted his school experience to members of the Australian Institute of Sport, a group of schools dedicated to training athletes.

Since then, St. Mary's has gone from a team that finished 2-27 to a perennial contender in the West Coast Conference. Its all-time leading scorer, Daniel Kickert, and its only former player in the NBA, Patrick Mills, both were Aussie products.

This year's team features five Australians, including WCC Player of the Year Matthew Dellavedova. The 6'4" point guard led the Gaels to a 25-6 record and a top 20 ranking.

St. Mary's also earned a regular season and conference tournament title on its way to The Dance, with its fans chanting "Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!" along the way.

Dellavedova's playing style displays traits from his homeland's most popular sport, rugby. While many guards look to go around defenders when streaking to the basket, he appears OK with going through them instead.

In addition to his bulldozing play in the paint, Dellavedova possesses an effective touch when shooting from the perimeter and a knack for finding the open man. He led the Gaels in points (15.6) and assists (6.4) per game.

St. Mary's discipline on offense and defense could frustrate their tournament opponent(s), forcing mistakes. That type of play was common in teams that knocked off higher seeds in the past.

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