Dellavedova ecstatic at spot

Written By Unknown on Senin, 28 Oktober 2013 | 23.41

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FROM junior basketball in Maryborough and Bendigo in Victoria to the NBA.

That has been the incredible journey of Matthew Dellavedova, who has defied the odds to win a prized roster spot with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the upcoming NBA season.

Speaking to the Herald Sun from the US, the star point guard said he was thrilled to get the nod following months of uncertainty and roster cuts.

"It's really exciting but there is a lot of hard work ahead," he said.

"The dream as a kid was always to play in the Olympics and the NBA.

"When you're a little kid you've always got big dreams but you don't really know if it is realistic or not.

"You just keep getting closer and closer as you get older and you just have to keep working hard.

"The amount of work you have to put in kind of increases each level you go up, and I'm glad it is paying off."

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The Maryborough product has put pen to paper on a two-year partially-guaranteed $US1.3 million ($A1.35 million) contract.

Dellavedova won his spot after impressing Cavaliers coach Mike Brown with his toughness and fierce determination.

"He's a non-athlete, but he gets everything out of his body you could hope or ask for. That's all you want," Brown said.

Dellavedova said the competition for a spot was cut-throat.

"There was pressure there every training session and every game," he said.

"But I think that is a good thing.

"It is definitely good to know where you will be playing.

"I could never look too far ahead - I was just focusing on the next thing I had to do."

The 23-year-old made the NBA the hard way.

The Boomer was a standout US college team St Mary's, but failed to get drafted after working out with numerous NBA teams.

He then played for Cleveland's Summer League team alongside Melbourne Tigers star Chris Goulding.

It was a long road but Dellavedova never gave up as he knew he could match it with the best.

"I think the time when I really thought I could play in the NBA was when I played for the Boomers in 2011," he said.

"We played a couple of games in Spain in a pre-Olympics warm up tournament against France, Siberia and a few others.

"I thought I held my own against a lot of NBA players and that's when I felt I could play at that level."

Dellavedova is one of just four Aussies in the NBA next season, which includes Golden State Warriors' Andrew Bogut and San Antonio Spurs' duo Patrick Mills and Aron Baynes.

He is the Cavaliers' third string point guard, which means he will be warming the bench more often than not.

"It just means you just have to be ready every night," he said.

"Because you might get your number called or you might not.

"So in the mean time I am just taking it as a great opportunity to learn off Kyrie Irving and Jarrett Jack in front of me."

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