By Harry Allison
The NBA Combine gets down to the nitty-gritty today in Chicago, and two Villanova underclassmen have the most to gain — and lose. For if they don’t get a positive vibe from the scouts and execs gathered before next month’s draft, it’s likely they’ll be back on the Main Line come October:
Donte DiVincenzo is considered a fringe first-round prospect who could gain some fans in Chicago by proving his worth outside of Villanova’s system. He had the luxury of playing off veterans such as Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, worrying mostly about making shots and defending his position. Teams will be interested to see whether DiVincenzo, who is a capable passer but prefers quick-hitting jumpers, can run a team if asked to do so. After a monster NCAA tournament, DiVincenzo’s stock might never be higher.
Omari Spellman is either a sure first-rounder with lottery potential or not quite ready to ride his NCAA tournament wave. Spellman, who was as heavy as 287 pounds and seen as a bit lazy just two-and-a-half years ago, has done an excellent job getting in shape and buying into Jay Wright’s system at Villanova. After an up-and-down start to his redshirt freshman season, Spellman averaged 16.6 points and 13.0 rebounds per 40 minutes over his last five games while shooting 40 percent from 3. If Spellman does indeed play at the combine, teams will want to see him unleash the motor he showed for flashes in college while defending in space and displaying some level of feel on offense (more turnovers than assists last season). Should he play well in Chicago, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Spellman, who turns 21 in late July and has rising momentum, keep his name in the draft.