Fresh off second NCAA title in three years Villanova will reload for 2018-19 season | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / August 7.
  • Fresh off second NCAA title in three years Villanova will reload for 2018-19 season

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    SAN ANTONIO — Villanova won its second NCAA championship in three years on Monday night, and while the Wildcats figure to lose several key players they should again be among the top teams in the nation when the 2018-19 season comes around.

    Junior Mikal Bridges is a projected NBA lottery pick, while junior Jalen Brunson is expected to graduate in three years and head to the NBA. He’s currently projected at No. 31 by ESPN.com.

    Redshirt freshman Omari Spellman may test the NBA Draft waters, but could return to be a dominant force for the Wildcats next season.

    Assistant coach Ashley Howard could also move on to a head coaching job and has been linked to the La Salle opening.

    Still, Villanova expects to have much of its core back, including redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo, who scored a game- and career-high 31 points en route to Most Outstanding Player honors.

    Villanova also returns redshirt juniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, sophomore Dylan Painter and freshmen Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie.

    The Wildcats also have the No. 12 recruiting class in 2018 per 247Sports.com. Their three-man class features McDonald’s All-American point guard Jahvon Quinerly, shooting guard Brandon Slater and small forward Cole Swider. Quinerly has yet to sign with the school, and Villanova has yet to publicly comment on him.

    “We have so much confidence in the type of person coach is going to bring into the program,” DiVincenzo said. “We know what were going to get next year. We know that we have guys coming in that are hungry and are great people off the court. We know we’re not going to have any issues with these guys.”

    Said Brunson: “[Coach Jay Wright] recruits great young men, not just on the basketball court but as a person. Not everyone is a fit for it but it’s just the type of person that we are. We’re great people, all of us are great people off the court. We try to be as genuine people as we can.”

    Kansas, Duke and Kentucky again figure to be near the top of the preseason rankings in 2018-19.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.