Matthew Dellavedova woke up Wednesday morning in a Cleveland hospital after a bout with dehydration following his Cavaliers' Game 3 victory in the NBA Finals. Columbia University men's

basketball coach Kyle Smith woke up and cried.

Smith didn't cry over Dellavedova's health; he knew the Cavs' scrappy point guard would be fine. Smith says he wept tears of joy, knowing that the point guard he coached at Saint Mary's College had played the game of his life on the NBA's biggest stage.

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“He literally left it all on the floor," Smith told Sporting News, "and that’s exactly what we embodied at Saint Mary’s. He’s taken it to the highest level.”

On a Cleveland team plagued with injuries, the Australian has emerged as one of the most unlikely playoff heroes in recent memory. However, Smith and Dellavedova's old Saint Mary's teammates aren't shocked. To the people that have followed Dellavedova's career since his college days in California, he has always been the same tenacious player. 

“We’re a little surprised from the standpoint of how impactful he’s been and how many minutes he is getting," said former Gaels guard Todd Golden, who did not overlap with Dellavedova at Saint Mary's but followed his career closely. "That’s obviously a product of the Kyrie injury, but we're definitely not surprised by how hard he is competing, how smart he plays, and how he is in no way scared of the moment.”

Even as a unheralded freshman, Dellavedova earned the respect of both his coaches and teammates through a relentless work ethic. The same effort has been frustrating Warriors point guard and NBA MVP Stephen Curry to the point that the record-setting 3-point shooter is making only 32.4 percent beyond the arc in the Finals.

Former Gaels center Omar Samhan was at first skeptical of his new teammate back in 2010, but he will always remember the exact moment Dellavedova won him over.

“I’ll never forget it," Samhan said. "I was worried because we graduated about eight players, and heading into my senior year I didn’t even recognize the team. But then Coach Bennett tells me, ‘Don’t worry, we got this really good freshman guard.’ Dellavedova walks in with his shaggy haircut, and he was even thinner back then — didn’t have the beard — so I say, ‘So this is the kid?’ I thought it was going to be a bust or a rough year, but I realized I was in for a pleasant treat with him.

“In the locker room he was a goofy kid and was kind of like a little brother, but once the games started, that role quickly changed. He was one of the leaders and carried himself just as a captain would."

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Dellavedova finished as the Gaels' all-time leader in scoring, assists, games played, free throw percentage and 3-pointers. He was a key player on a Sweet 16 run as a freshman, when Samhan was the star, and played all 40 minutes in a second-round game when the No. 10 seed Gaels stunned No. 2 seed Villanova.

Dellavedova has made his niche in the NBA doing things that other players don't want to do, and his scrappiness — along with LeBron James' unbelievable play — has Cleveland two wins away from the city's first title in 51 years. He has been a big-game competitor for a while now, even if fans are only now taking notice.

“He facilitates everybody so well," Samhan said. "You see him doing it with LeBron, but that’s what he was doing as an 18-year-old at Saint Mary’s.”