MORAGA, Calif. -- Some of the biggest names in Saint Mary’s athletics history are scheduled to return to campus this summer for a special event to celebrate a more than a decade as the state’s winningest NCAA Division I men’s basketball program.
On Sunday, June 29 at 6 p.m., Saint Mary’s will host the Gaels Basketball All-Star Classic. The game will be preceded by a special alumni game that includes former SMC players from across several decades. The All-Star Classic will feature current professional players from the most recent era of Gaels basketball.
Former Saint Mary’s stars Patrick Mills, Matthew Dellavedova, Omar Samhan, Mickey McConnell, Daniel Kickert, E.J. Rowland, Diamon Simpson , Rob Jones, Ian O’Leary and Stephen Holt are among the players who have committed to participate in the Gael Basketball All-Star Classic.
Tickets are available for $5 through SMCGaels.com (link should be active Thursday), at the SMC Athletic Ticket Office during business hours or at the door. Youth 12 and under receive free admission. In addition, SMC season ticket holders who have placed their deposit or fully renewed their seats for the upcoming season will receive complimentary admission.
Complete rosters, player participation information and other details will be released throughout the weeks leading up to the event.
“Our program has developed such strong ties between players, coaches, alumni and the community that we wanted to find a way to continue to strengthen those relationships,” said head coach Randy Bennett. “With so many players currently on professional teams throughout the world, it has been impossible to get everyone back on campus during the season. A number of former players indicated their schedules would allow them to make it back this summer and they wanted to be a part of something special. What better showcase of our program than through these special alumni and all-star games.”
Over the past 13 seasons, Saint Mary’s has won 72 percent of its games, won two West Coast Conference regular-season titles and earned eight postseason appearances. The Gaels’ winning percentage during the decade is the best among Division I institutions in the state of California.
Since head coach Randy Bennett’s arrival at Saint Mary’s prior to the 2001-02 season, 14 different players have earned 28 all-WCC honors, while McConnell and Dellavedova were named the league’s Player of the Year. Kickert, Simpson and Dellavedova are among just five SMC players ever to receive all-WCC honors three times.
A total of 18 former SMC standouts played professionally this past/current season. Dellavedova and Mills played in the NBA for Cleveland and San Antonio, respectively, while McConnell was the final player released in the preseason by the Dallas Mavericks and played for the club’s D-League affiliate.
Kickert, Rowland, Simpson, Jones and O’Leary played with teams in the highest divisions of various European leagues, while four recent graduates participated in Australia’s National Basketball League.