MELBOURNE – Matthew Dellavedova can’t wait to get back on court and pull on the green and gold for Australia.
With his NBA season ended prematurely, courtesy of a concussion sustained against the Brooklyn Nets, Dellavedova confirmed that he was fully fit and looking forward to playing again when the Boomers take on Canada and Team USA on home soil in August ahead of the FIBA World Cup in China.
“[I’m] really looking forward to that. It’s going to be good to get a couple of games in over in Perth and maybe against Tristan [Thompson], my team mate in Cleveland. And then obviously the USA games are going to be pretty massive, and they might have [Kevin Love] here as well, and I’m looking forward to that. But it is all just preparation for the World Cup, and it is our goal to win a gold medal.”
Dellavedova would go on to explain that the recovery time might have provided him with the opportunity to improve his game and serve as preparation for Australia’s World Cup campaign.
“It is the longest break that I’ve ever had, and it has given me the opportunity to work on a lot of different things,” added Dellavedova.
“I’ve been lifting a lot of legs and getting my legs really strong, and it was nice to have a nice kind of smooth ramp up heading to camp. I’ve been working on my shot a little bit and changing a few things, and I’m looking forward to [getting started].”
As a proud Victorian and passionate supporter of Collingwood in the AFL, playing at home in Melbourne at Marvel Stadium in an occasion he’s more than excited about.
“It gives me goosebumps, thinking about it.Matthew Dellavedova
“It’s something that obviously we’ve known for a while and it feels a lot more real now than it is here. It is going to be pretty cool. Just hearing the national anthem there and hopefully everyone is belting it out. It is a once-in-a-career opportunity to have some games like that, so that part is definitely going to be cool but we also can’t lose sight of the process.”
Dellavedova has been using his time wisely, working on his body and his game in readiness for the World Cup and his next season with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I’ve been building up for the past couple months or so. I’ve got my college teammate working me out this offseason, which has been going really well. The official training camp starts on 2 August, so I’ll get some five on five stuff going, but just a lot of shooting and a lot of weights and getting ready for camp.”
With the Boomers camp just weeks away, Dellavedova advised that many of the Boomers squad would start returning home over the next week or two, and things would ramp up very quickly.
“I think everyone is getting back this week or next week, so I am going to spend a little bit of time at home, but I think that that week or two before camp I’ll be around and definitely trying to work out with the boys.
“I think that having played together for a long time, and seeing each so much during the year, all those things are going to help us when it’s time.”
With a record number of Australians playing in the NBA, there has been some light-hearted banter between some of the players as to their countries’ chances at the World Cup. Dellavedova confirmed that the ‘friendly fire’ was not just isolated to the Spurs and Patty Mills’s ribbing of USA head coach Gregg Popovich.
“Definitely – a little bit with [Kevin Love] and Tristan [Thompson], so hopefully they both make the trip over here.”
It is clear that Dellavedova and the Boomers still have gold in their sights, even more so after the disappointment of finishing fourth at the 2016 Rio Olympics. It was not until recently that the hardworking guard had revisited the event, and the hurt still lingers. To them, it’s definitely a case of ‘unfinished business’ for the Boomers.
“That is something that doesn’t go away,” shared Dellavedova on the outcome at Rio. “It’s kind of bubbling under the surface.
“I think I read an article that someone had written – I’m not sure, but it was probably one of you guys [Ben Mallis] – about a recap on Rio and things like that. I’d tried not to think about it too much because, obviously it was bitterly disappointing. But that kind of hunger in the belly and that sick feeling of disappointment has been there all summer [in the US], and that’s why I have been really working hard and getting ready so we can give it a good crack.”