A decade ago you if you walked into the Bendigo Basketball stadium you may have spotted a young Matthew Dellavedova dribbling a ball up and down the court. At that same time it was quite possible another youngster named Ryan Broekhoff was practicing his jump shot inside the Frankston Basketball stadium. Both boys share a love of basketball and a common journey through life thus far.
After starring for their local basketball clubs both boys were major pieces of state basketball teams, often pitted against each other, going head to head at various state titles. In 2008 the rivalry ceased when both Dellavedova and Broekhoff became team mates at the Australian Institute of Sport.
After spending two years together at the AIS, a time which included representing Australia at the Junior Basketball World Championships in 2009, both boys decided college basketball was the next phase for their careers and Dellavedova soon found himself at St Mary’s in Moraga, California while Broekhoff found himself on the other side of the country in Valparaiso, Indiana some 34 hours away.
Their paths couldn’t stay separate for long however. These two tyro’s are both currently members of the 15 man Australian Boomers squad which will face the Greek National team in a pre-Olympic tournament across Victoria this week. Only 12 players can make the Olympic team so Dellavedova and Broekhoff may have to renew their rivalry with the likelihood being that only one of them will receive the opportunity to play in London.
It seems their paths may finally differ after July when one of them becomes an Olympian. However it’s not a stretch to say come things could come full circle by 2016 as both as these players will be the future of Australian Basketball for years to come.
Matthew Dellavedova (University of St Mary’s) & Ryan Broekhoff (Valparaiso University)
9 June 2012 Australia v China – YouYi Games