MORAGA, Calif. (AP) - Saint Mary’s retired the No. 4 jersey worn by all-time leading scorer Matthew Dellavedova on Saturday night.
“I’m very humbled and privileged to have this happen because there have been a lot of great players who played here and I had the opportunity to play with a lot of great players in my four years here,” he said.
Even though Dellavedova is only 23 and graduated just last year, the Gaels saw no reason to wait to honor one of their most accomplished players. He was a three-time first-team all-West Coast Conference player and won the player of the year and tournament MVP award in 2012.
Dellavedova finished his career at Saint Mary’s last year as the school’s career leader in points (1,933), assists (778), games (136), free-throw percentage (.860) and 3-pointers (288). He also helped lead the Gaels to a 108-28 record during his career and three trips to the NCAA tournament.
Dellavedova was part of the Australian pipeline that has helped transform Saint Mary’s into one of the most successful mid-major programs in recent years. He thanked former Australian players who paved the way to Saint Mary’s like current assistant Adam Caporn, Patty Mills and Daniel Kickert, as well as all of his coaches, teammates and fans for their support.
“It’s good that I can come back and get a chance to publicly thank a lot of people who made my experience at Saint Mary’s an awesome one,” he said.
The fans serenaded him with chants of “Delly! Delly!” and “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi, oi, oi!” that grew so familiar at McKeon Pavilion in recent years.
Dellavedova was joined at the ceremony by his parents, Mark and Leanne, Meschery, and Australian Consulate General Nigel Warren. Dellavedova helped lead Australia to the quarterfinals of the Olympics in 2012.
It was a fitting opponent for the honor. One of Dellavedova’s signature moments came against the Cougars last season when he hit a buzzer-beater from just across halfcourt to lead the Gaels to a 70-69 win at BYU.