Delly Does It On Senior Night
An emotional Senior Night at McKeon Pavillion last Saturday night has topped off a near perfect season for the St Mary’s Gaels and their star PG Matthew Dellavedova. In a 21 point performance against conference opponents Santa Clara, Matthew Dellavedova became the Gaels’ all-time leading scorer, overtaking countryman Daniel Kickert.
It took Dellavedova a good portion of the first half to break the milestone, after only needing three points to tie going into the game. From early on, it seemed like whenever the NBA prospect shot from beyond the arc, the basketball anti-Gods wanted him to miss. It wasn’t until over ten minutes into the first half that the Maryborough native got the monkey off his back and, from then on in, there was no stopping him.
With the 13 point win ending the St Mary’s regular season, The Gaels are now posed for a prime NCAA Tournament appearance. Barring anything unforeseen, they should have an eighth or ninth seed sewn up. In a tournament that is one-and-done and completely unforgiving, the Gaels have to be on song straight off the mark. With Dellavedova running the floor though, that shouldn’t be a problem. And now that Dellavedova is, even subconsciously, playing for more than the W, we may see him really step it up another gear.
The win for the Gaels was somewhat overshadowed however after an NCAA ruling found the school to be in violation of NCAA recruiting laws. The NCAA has put St Mary’s on a four year probation for a “failure to monitor its men’s basketball program.” A report by NCAA Committee on Infractions found that Gaels coach Randy Bennett “failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance” relating to the recruiting process used by a former Gaels assistant. This means that Bennett will now be ineligible to recruit off campus and will be suspended for the first five West Coast Conference games next season.
Thankfully for the Gaels, this doesn’t affect their current season, nor their chances at making the NCAA Tournament in the upcoming years. The story has been bubbling along since the beginning of the season, a constant reminder to St Mary’s that they may have something to fear once the season ends. But now that it’s out and the details are somewhat more established, the Gaels can continue on, put the saga behind them and continue to focus on the task at hand.
This may be the Gaels’ last chance to make a legitimate run at The Big Dance for a while. It’s very rare that a player of Dellavedova’s calibre comes along so unless the Gaels a more lucky than most, they may have to get creative and find a way of winning without the Australian star. And with the number of scholarships reduced from 13 to 11 over the next four years, it’s going to be even harder. There’s a lot riding on this Tournament for the Gaels; let’s just see how they can handle it.