Maryborough’s Matthew Dellavedova is in contention for yet another honour in his booming hoops career, this time as the top point guard in men’s US college basketball.
The reigning West Coast Conference Player of the Year, Dellavedova has been added to the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award.
He was among the final five candidates for the award last season, but has taken his game to another level in his senior year at St Mary’s College in California.
The rising star is averaging a team-best 19.5 points per game, as well as 6.1 assists, and is shooting at 93.9 per cent from the free throw line and 50 per cent from the field.
He has scored 30 points or more three times this season – including a career-high 32 points against Drexel last month – and has guided the Gaels to an 8-3 record.
Last season, Dellavedova led St Mary’s to regular season and conference tournament success.
The 22-year-old already leads the Gaels in all-time assists and is on track to lead the scoring, three-pointers and free-throw percentage by the end of his college career.
But one area where 190cm Dellavedova’s impact can’t be measured is his leadership.
Speaking to a California newspaper recently, St Mary’s College basketball coach Randy Bennett said Dellavedova was the best leader he had seen at the Gaels.
“We’ve had some great ones,” Bennett said. “I’ve never had one quite like this.”
Four times each season, Bennett asks his players to rate their team-mates’ leadership qualities in categories including work ethic, confidence, mental toughness, trust, ability to unify the team and respect.
As he usually does, Dellavedova scored at the top in each category of the most recent survey.
“The great thing about Matt is he only cares about how we do,” Bennett said.
“He’s a 10 on leadership. There’s nobody up there with him.”
Dellavedova was the only college player to start for his team at the London Olympics.
Despite being the youngest member of the Australian team, he was among the Boomers’ best players, averaging 7.3 points and 4.5 assists per game.
The Boomers were knocked out in the quarter-finals by the star-studded US line-up, when Dellavedova had seven rebounds and four assists.
“Kobe (Bryant) said, ‘Keep working hard’. That’s pretty cool,” Dellavedova recalled.
“They’re the best in the world and I’m confident I can play at that level now.
“Just playing against men and at that level, really smart players, bigger and stronger and longer, you’ve got less room for error and you’ve got to make the decision quicker.
“I think that really helped out.”
More than 80 players have been named on the watch list for the Bob Cousy Award, which is named after Hall of Famer and former Boston Celtics legend Bob Cousy.
The list will be trimmed to 20 in the new year, with many previous winners going on to have successful NBA careers.
Last year’s award winner, Kendall Marshall from North Carolina, was taken at pick 13 by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA draft in June.
Dellavedova was also named on pre-season watch lists for the John R. Wooden and James Naismith national player of the year awards.