Villanova Basketball – What’s In Store For Next Season?

Matthew Horan, Staff Writer

After coming off yet another National Championship in three years, many players on Villanova Men’s Basketball roster are looking towards the NBA to further pursue their basketball career. Some players considering the jump to next level basketball include Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson, Omari Spellman, and Donte DiVincenzo. However, it is not just the players who are receiving NBA interest but also head coach Jay Wright. As time goes by and the next season approaches, some major roster changes may come into place.
Mikal Bridges was a major contributor to the team this year in terms of athleticism and rebounding. The red-shirt junior from Malvern, Pennsylvania averaged 17.7 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game. As for his future, Mikal has decided to enter the NBA draft and hire an agent; this means he will not return to college but become a professional athlete. Currently, Mikal is predicted to be picked 9th overall in the first round by many popular mock draft websites.
The floor general for the Wildcats, Jalen Brunson, really showed his agility and leadership over his last three years attending Villanova. This year he averaged 18.9 points per game and 4.6 assists per game. Jalen Brunson, Lincolnshire, Illinois native, was in his junior season this year and has since decided to declare for the NBA draft and hire an agent just like teammate Mikal Bridges. Although Jalen will be leaving college a year earlier than most, he will graduate this year because of his dedication to academics and extra classes taken during the summer. As of now, Jalen is predicted to be picked 29th overall in the first round of the NBA draft.
Omari Spellman was a key contributor to Villanova this year because of his size and versatility. Omari is 6 feet 9 inches tall & 245 pounds, which made a big impact in the post. Although the big body, Omari can also shoot from the outside coming in at 43% accuracy behind the 3 point line. The mobile red-shirt freshman originates from Cleveland, Ohio, and has decided to declare for the NBA draft without signing an agent. This means Omari can still chose to come back to Villanova after going through the draft process. Presently, Omari is projected as the 26th pick in the first round of the draft.
The former Salesianum graduate and Wilmington native, Donte DiVincenzo, is also considering a NBA career. While at Salesianum, Donte brought home two DIAA state titles in 2014 and 2015. Now at Villanova, Donte has gained two National Championships in 2016 and 2018 as well. Donte was considered the best 6th man in college basketball this year, getting as much playing time as the starters. This year Donte averaged 13.4 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. His draft stock has recently gone up tremendously due to his 31 point game in the title game versus Michigan. Here, Donte showed that he is well worthy of playing in the NBA and popped up on the radar for many NBA scouts. Recently, Donte was predicted to be picked 23rd in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft.
As for Jay Wright, it is said that the New York Knicks have been actively pursuing him to take over as the head coach for the 2018-2019 season. If Jay were to take the job, his salary of 2.5 million would get doubled and he would be inclined to a lot more travel than he was committed to at Villanova. Right now, the NBA is not Jay’s top priority given that he hasn’t scheduled any coaching interviews, but anything is possible at this point.
For next year, Villanova has three solid recruits coming into the freshman class. Jahvon Quinerly, a point guard from Hudson, New Jersey, recently participated in the McDonald’s All American Game, which is roughly the most prestigious game a high school player could be selected for. Cole Swider, small forward from Massachusetts, has been named best shooter in the 2018 class. Finally, Brandon Slater, small forward from the DMV, is also a top 50 recruit. The future for Villanova Basketball holds tons of potential in terms of popularity and skill, and if this season is any indication, next year should be a slam dunk for Nova Nation.