Jay Wright hopes all four Villanova players go in first round, but will advise DiVincenzo and Spellman to return if not | Zagsblog
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Thursday / June 20.
  • Jay Wright hopes all four Villanova players go in first round, but will advise DiVincenzo and Spellman to return if not

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    By ADAM ZAGORIA

    Villanova coach Jay Wright says he hopes all four of his players get drafted in the first round of the NBA Draft, but will advise Donte DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman to return to campus if they are not projected first-rounders.

    Juniors Mikal Bridges, who met this week with the Knicks among other teams, and Jalen Brunson are projected first round picks. DiVincenzo is currently projected early in the second round, according to ESPN.com, while Spellman is not projected to get drafted.

    “Omari and Donte are out there to try to prove themselves as first-round picks,” Wright, one of three active coaches with two or more NCAA championships, told ESPN by phone. “For them, I hope they are. And I think this process has been good for them. I think they will get some good information.”

    The 6-foot-5 DiVincenzo played well in the 5-on-5 on Thursday, his first appearance since pouring in 31 points in the NCAA championship game against Michigan on April 2.

    “He wanted to play, he wanted the challenge,” Wright said. “He’s a gym rat. He has confidence in himself. And obviously he wants to try to get himself into the first round. I think if he were guaranteed by someone that he’d be in the first round, I think he’d stay and keep his name in the draft.

    “But if not, I think he’d want to come back and try to prove that he can be a first-round pick.”

    Said Spellman of DiVincenzo: “I think he has a chip on his shoulder, man. And I think he’s better than a lot of guys give him credit and I think he wants to prove that.”

    The 6-9 Spellman played both days at the Combine and the jury is out on whether he’ll remain in the draft or withdraw by the May 30 deadline to pull out. He went for 15 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in Friday’s game after putting up 12 rebounds and 9 points s on Thursday.

    He has upcoming workouts with the Lakers (May 23), Clippers (24), Spurs (26) and Jazz (28).

    “For me, it’s a feel thing. I think personally I’m an NBA player,” Spellman said on ESPN. “I think I’m ready to make an impact. For me it’s just taking these next few days and really just gathering as much information as I can to make a good decision for myself.”

    Spellman said he will consult with his mother, Teresita Jones-Thomas, and PSA Cardinals coach Terrance “Munch” Williams in making his decision.

    “Those are really the only two people I’m considering when making my decision,” he said.

    Wright had his own advice for DiVincenzo and Spellman.

    “Both of them are really confident guys and they love a challenge,” Wright said. “My personal advice is, you’re young, you got a chance to come back and make yourself a first-round pick. It’s more how those guys want to enter their pro careers. Do they want to do it as first-round choices or do they want to fight their way as second-round picks?”

    Wright also reiterated his own desire to remain at Villanova instead of jumping to the NBA — at least for now.

    “I just love my job, man,” he said. “I don’t want to give up the job I have to do that. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to coach at that level with that talent but I just don’t want to give up what I have to do it. And I just love coaching at Villanova.”

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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.