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.
Four Villanova players invited to NBA Draft Combine
By ADAM ZAGORIA
All four players from reigning national champion Villanova who are involved in the NBA Draft process have been invited to the NBA Draft Combine May 16-20 in Chicago, multiple sources told ZAGSBLOG.
The NBA has yet to issue an official Combine list.
Juniors Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson will remain in the Draft with agents, while redshirt sophomore Donte DiVincenzo and redshirt freshman Omari Spellman are testing the NBA Draft waters without agents.
The latest mock NBA Draft from ESPN.com has the 6-foot-7 Bridges going No. 10 to the Philadelphia 76ers and the 6-2 Brunson going No. 26 — also to the Sixers.
The 6-9 Spellman is projected as the No. 25 pick in 2019 to the Utah Jazz.
The 6-5 DiVincenzo,who scored a game- and career-high 31 points en route to Most Outstanding Player honors, is not on either mock draft.
The decisions by Spellman and DiVincenzo will go a long way toward determining whether Villanova is a favorite to return to the Final Four in 2019.
If both return along with returns redshirt juniors Phil Booth and Eric Paschall, sophomore Dylan Painter and freshmen Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree, Jermaine Samuels and Collin Gillespie, Villanova figures to be a major force in 2018-19.
Multiple NBA scouts told ZAGSBLOG Spellman and DiVincenzo would be better off returning to campus for a year.
“They will get drafted if they stay in the draft,” one NBA executive said. “They both could be drafted higher next year if they return to college.”
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.
“We have so much confidence in the type of person coach is going to bring into the program,” DiVincenzo said at the Final Four. “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.
Looking ahead to 2019, Villanova now has two commits in combo guard Justin Moore and big man Eric Dixon.
Villanova remains in the hunt for several elite 2019 prospects, including Cole Anthony, Bryan Antoine, Scottie Lewis and Josh Green as well as Nico Mannion, who is looking to reclassify from 2020 to 2019.
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.