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.
Villanova’s Saddiq Bey, Jeremiah Robinson-Earl to test NBA Draft waters
By ADAM ZAGORIA
The parade of Villanova players to the NBA appears like it will continue in 2020.
Freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl and sophomore Saddiq Bey will both test the NBA Draft waters, head coach Jay Wright said Tuesday on a Zoom call with reporters.
“They’re good picks,” Wright said. “Nobody will make a mistake taking them.”
The 6-foot-8 Bey averaged 16.1 points and 4.7 rebounds as a sophomore en route to winning the Julius Erving Award as the nation’s top small forward. He’s ranked the 22nd-best player available in the NBA Draft, per ESPN.com.
“I will definitely go through that process, whenever I’ll be able to, whenever that opens up, and I’ll be keeping my options open for sure,” Bey said. “I have to see how it unfolds.
“I’m just talking to our coaching staff and my family and stuff like that, just trying to stay ready. It’s uncharted territory, so I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m just staying ready for anything, and just being ready for it when that time comes.”
The 6-foot-9 Robinson-Earl was named the Big East Freshman of the Year after averaging 10.5 points and 9.4 rebounds this season for the Wildcats. He’s ranked the 66th best available player, per ESPN.
If Robinson-Earl leaves for the NBA, he would be the first Villanova one-and-done player since Tim Thomas in 1997. The one-and-done rule didn’t begin until 2006.
Because the NBA Draft might not happen until August or September, Wright said he expects his players to have more time to decide about their futures.
“I’ve talked to guys that I know in the NBA,” Wright said. “My general feeling is, the NCAA can’t do anything until the NBA comes up with their plan. I don’t have the NCAA timetable in front of me, but I think it’s something like June 3 that guys would have to make their decision whether they were going to stay or enter the draft.
“But I think the NBA might not have their draft until August or September. I think once the NCAA sees what the NBA is going to do, I just have a gut feeling from the people I’m talking to – and no decisions have been made, so don’t hold me to this – I think the NCAA will be lenient with these guys to try to give them as much time as possible to get information because it’s such a one-off year.”
Wright said losing two key players this summer likely wouldn’t affect his program much in 2020, but that missing out on the spring and summer recruiting periods this year could adversely impact Villanova for the following season.
“I don’t think this is going to affect us in recruiting with the 2020 class,” he said, “but it’s definitely going to affect us with the ’21 class the way we recruit, not being able to get out in the spring to evaluate, we’re not getting guys on campus in the spring.
“But if it affects us and hurts us a little bit, so what? Suck it up.
There’s a lot more important things going on in our world right now.”
Wright expects to rely more next season on current freshman guards Chris Arcidiacono, the younger brother of former Villanova star Ryan Arcidiacono, and Bryan Antoine, as well as freshman forward Eric Dixon.
Photo: Getty Images
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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.