It was an up and down season for the Villanova Wildcats, who got off to a good start, then lost Collin Gillespie for the year, only to play their way into the Sweet 16 anyway.
They finished 18-7, giving the national champion Baylor Bears a good first-half challenge before the #1 seed pulled away for a 62-51 victory.
Now, leading scorer Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is declaring for the NBA draft:
— Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (@JCREarl) April 9, 2021
JRE is a sophomore who averaged 15.7 points and 8.5 rebounds this year. He’s a smart combo forward, 6’8″ and about 230 pounds, and he plays with good quickness and agility. Great defender, especially off the ball, and he was stuck having to guard opposing centers fairly often at the college level, which won’t be the case in the NBA. Projections have him going somewhere late in the first round or early in the second round, but we’re a long way from the draft, so take all of that with a grain of salt.
He does need to improve his shooting at the next level if teams are going to use him as a stretch player, because in two seasons with Nova he only shot about 30% from three and his free-throw percentage dipped significantly this season. But he does have a great touch around the rim and his offensive game looks like it might interface well with current NBA trends. More than anything, two years with Jay Wright is a huge advantage in the culture/attitude/mentality department, and we’ve seen a number of Nova players stick with NBA teams over the past four or five draft classes.