How About That Donte DiVincenzo NBA Buzz

I remember the reaction when I tweeted this during the second round beatdown of Alabama when Donte DiVincenzo went off in the first half to keep the struggling Cats from falling behind. It looked something like this:

I wish it was the DiVincenzo burner account so he wouldn’t be getting lambasted today for his Tweets as a high school student. Alas. DiVincenzo is indeed an NBA prospect, and that suddenly became the topic of conversation last night.

Yahoo’s Pete Thamel broached the subject with scouts in attendance:

Yahoo Sports reached out to a handful of NBA scouts and executives in the wake of DiVincenzo’s performance, and there’s certainly interest in him around the NBA. “He had the game of his life,” one veteran scout said in a text. “Helped him probably get some first-round looks.”

There wasn’t a consensus, as another scout predicted he’d be a late first-round pick and a third said he’d either go in the second or go undrafted. But no one argued the importance of shooting 5 of 7 from 3-point range, grabbing five rebounds and being what former teammate Josh Hart called “the best player on the floor.” Added one scout: “I think [tonight] will have a large impact.”

Michael Wilbon?

Skip Bayless?

I hate those last two guys, but they fit my narrative here so let’s roll with it.

How about Charles Barkley?

He’ll be playing on Sundays.

Jay Wright was asked about it and offered up a sheepish answer as he may have just come to the realization that DiVincenzo is now a legit NBA prospect:

It had been figured that DiVincenzo would be back next year, likely leading yet another top 10 team.

A redshirt sophomore who actually played in one game during Villanova’s 2016 National Championship season (we have to specify them now), DiVincenzo was rather raw last season and into parts of this season. Here’s what I wrote about him before the tournament last year:

A TWOFER! Congratulations to Donte DiVincenzo, THE BIG RAGU*, for not only being the sleeper star, but also Jay’s trademarked Italian point guard.

DiVincenzo picks up right where Mike Nardi (a current assistant who picked up wads of cash and Euro style** while playing in Italia) and Arcidiacono left off. Rumor has it Jay is recruiting an actual meatball, currently a high school freshman, to replace DiVincenzo, a medical redshirt freshman, when he graduates in three years. His game is said to be delicious.

Donte played in a handful of games last season and then broke the fifth metatarsal bone in his foot and had to watch the National Championship run from the bench. He swaps places with Phil Booth this year. Booth, who scored 20 points against North Carolina in the title game, has missed the entire season with pain in his surgically repaired knee and will take a redshirt. But DiVincenzo has done a lot over the last few months to alleviate concerns about Booth’s absence. The Michael Jordan of Delaware***, Donte is an insanely athletic white guard**** with impressive hops. He’s someone who will attempt three rim-rattling dunks this month… and convert one of them. He won the Virginia game in January with a last-second tip-in of Hart’s missed layup attempt. To me, he may be the best NBA prospect on the Wildcats. He’s young, and a bit raw, but he’s improved markedly over the course of the season and has next level athleticism.

In fact, he did rim job a dunk during that tournament.

The difference this year is that he converts all three of them, and then stuffs a guy at the rim:

Oh, and he shoots the three:

Those are pro skills, and were it not for Omari Spellman, I’d argue that DiVincenzo has the best pro prospects of any player on the team. I’d rank them thusly:

  1. Omari Spellman (next year)
  2. Donte DiVincenzo (next year?)
  3. Mikal Bridges (this year)
  4. Jalen Brunson (this year)

DiVincenzo’s performance last night, while eminently impressive, was not a surprise to most Villanova fans. He has, as Clark Kellogg would awkwardly say before telling you about pseudo penetration, spurtability. He spurts a lot. And while one can argue that Villanova actually didn’t play a great game last night, DiVincenzo’s performance serves as evidence as to how great they were. They were so deep and talented, and could beat you in so many ways, that even when their threes didn’t fall, they could beat you with a talented scoring guard, or defense. There was almost no way to beat them. Michigan effectively shut down Brunson and Bridges, but then DiVincenzo just torched them, something that makes NBA scouts giddy.

If I had to guess, DiVincenzo sticks around for another year, becomes one of the top guards in the country, perhaps leads his team to another National Championship, and then becomes a first round pick. That seems like the better path for him. But then again, I also felt this way about Kyle Lowry after his sophomore season. We all know how that ended. DiVincenzo feels eerily similar to Lowry in the regard. And while not quite the force of human contents that Lowry was, DiVincenzo is more polished than Lowry was at this stage. And he just won a National Championship, off the bench.

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23 Responses

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  1. He hit open college 3s because his teammates outmaneuvered CBA players and grocery baggers and played tryhard defense in the playoffs. Keep banging the drum though, Kyle. I enjoy this.

  2. For the 5th season in a row Tracey took the award for MVM-Most Valuable Mole.

  3. “Michigan effectively shut down Brunson and Bridges,”

    They shut down Bridges? What game were you watching? Chris Christie highlights? Bridges had 19 points on 7-12 shooting and was the only other player to score in double figures. Yeah, they did a good job on Brunson but no way did they shut down Bridges. He averages a 17.7 and 5 ana he got 19 and 4 in the game.

    1. Come on, Bridges stinks. And this Nova squad screams college only players, not one will have any impact against legitimate NBA talent.

    2. Bridges had a very quiet 19 and put up most of his points with a commanding lead in the second half. My point was is they good a good job in their plan on him and it wasn’t until things were out of reach before he got his.

  4. He is a very good player but needs work on his passing and he doesn’t handle the ball very well yet. He would be a smaller 2 in today’s NBA. He had a great game last night and deserved the MVP. However, he is also very inconsistent at times. He could have a higher ceiling than Brunson but based on where each player is right now, it may take 3 or so years for Donte to surpass him. He is not lottery pick material yet. That could change next year. He could go at the very end of round 1 or in round 2. He has the type of game where he would needs minutes to improve. Thus, if he enters the draft this year, he could be looking at the G league next year. I fully expect him to be back, improve where needed and be a higher pick next year.

    Sorry to intrude with logic on this discussion.

    1. I agree with most of that. The NBA does draft on ceiling though, so I’m not sure he won’t be considered for a draft pick now. I do think his passing is much better than you give him credit for– see that pass down low to Spellman.

    2. I’ll admit I don’t know too much about him, but in this game he shows excellent blocking skills, passing, attacking the rim (with ball handling), cutting, shooting the 3. He looks legit

  5. Divincenzo may be the best pro prospect on the team the guy is lottery pick right now.

  6. The guy can beat you off the dribble. He can shoot the mid range jumper. He has unbelievably range on his three ball. I have watch this guy all year. He can handle the rock.

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