Fan favourite returns to boost building United

THE remarkable recruiting of Melbourne United over the 2023 off-season has continued, bringing back one of Australia’s most popular basketballers ahead of the upcoming NBL season.

After falling short of a grand final series appearance during the 2021/22 season, United lost a number of talented players, including Matthew Dellavedova, who headed back to the NBA to join the Sacramento Kings.

His presence was sorely missed during a 2022/23 campaign where United slipped down the standings, longing for a veteran point guard that could control the play and set up the team on both ends of the court.

However, those wishes have been granted, with ‘Delly’ returning to the side and further adding talent to a United side that has already acquired some seriously good talent over the past month or so.

The likes of Jo Lual Acuil and Luke Travers have already committed to joining Melbourne for the 2022/23 season, and Dellavedova will compliment those signings well.

A defensive minded point guard who can also score and facilitate, the veteran has already experienced success at NBL level, having been named to the All-NBL second team just a couple of years ago.

An NBA Champion who has seen 499 appearances at that level, Dellavedova is a proven winner who brings plenty to whatever jersey he dons.

Having already played with the likes of Lual Acuil, Chris Goulding and under head coach Dean Vickerman in the past, he promises to slot in nicely to a Melbourne side that is eager to return to the postseason after narrowly missing out in NBL23.

Dellavadova should prove a vital experienced head for Travers, who looms as a seriously talented player despite still being just 21 years old. The youngster will benefit from playing with a veteran like ‘Delly’, who will likely act as a mentor for his younger teammates.

Vickerman was thrilled to bring back a player of Dellavedova’s calibre ahead of a big campaign for his side.

“There are so many things that Delly brings to the table,” Vickerman said.

“It starts with his competitiveness and his grit to just want to win. You never feel like you’re out of a game when you’ve got him on the floor.

“He’s a leader by actions, diving on the floor, winning loose-ball possessions, taking charges, and by his play, we saw he can really get hot with his three-ball and ability to score.

“The way he assesses the game, his total understanding of how to run a team, is unmatched, and we think he can bring that from either guard position.”

In other free agency news, the NBL has received a boost in its youth stocks with the Armstrong brothers both signing deals over the past week. Having both suited up for the California Baptist Lancers in the NCAAM over the past few years, the duo return to Australia, but for different teams this time.

The Cairns Taipans have acquired the services of Taran, who has completed a successful campaign with the Lancers, while younger brother Tre has returned to their home state to join the Tasmania JackJumpers.

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