As expected, redshirt sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo has become the fourth player from Villanova’s national championship team to enter the NBA draft but the second one to not hire an agent, leaving his options open for a possible return to the Wildcats.
The 6-foot-5 DiVincenzo, a Wilmington native who was named the most outstanding player of the Final Four, made his announcement Thursday, following a similar path to that of forward Omari Spellman. Spellman, a redshirt freshman, said Tuesday he would enter the draft without hiring an agent.
By going without an agent, DiVincenzo and Spellman will be able to come back to Villanova if they decide that they need another season to improve their draft position. Entering the draft process means being able to work out for and meet with NBA teams during this time.
The deadline for pulling out of the draft and returning to school is May 30.
Guard Jalen Brunson, the consensus national player of the year, and forward Mikal Bridges each gave up his final year of eligibility to enter the draft and hire an agent.
Two other Wildcats, forward Eric Paschall and guard Phil Booth, announced Thursday they will return to Villanova for their final season of eligibility.
DiVincenzo scored 31 points, the most ever scored by a non-starter in the national final, in Villanova’s 79-62 victory over Michigan on April 2 in San Antonio. He made 10 of 15 shots from the floor overall and drained five three-point baskets in seven attempts.
In the NCAA tournament, DiVincenzo averaged 15 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game while making 54.7 percent of his field goal attempts and 50 percent (17 of 34) from three-point range. In two of the games — the second round vs. Alabama and the championship contest — he provided an immediate spark off the bench, scoring 18 first-half points in each.
For the season, he was third on the team in scoring with a 13.4-point average, second in assists at 3.5 per game, and third in three-point baskets with 85 while shooting 40.1 percent from beyond the arc.
His versatility in being able to play either guard spot and defend several positions, in addition to an incredible leaping ability, makes him attractive to NBA scouts.
DiVincenzo said at Monday night’s Big Five banquet that the NBA was “a dream I’ve been thinking about since I was a little kid, so there’s always a thought of that.” But he also talked about his reluctance to leave Villanova.
“There’s so many people that have helped me get to this point that you kind of don’t want to do that,” he said. “You want to give them everything that they’ve given you.”
Villanova coach Jay Wright praised DiVincenzo’s dedication and commitment and added, “His play this season has created a unique opportunity for him to receive feedback from NBA teams in the draft process. We support Donte fully and our staff will work together with him and his family to help him assess the next step in his basketball career.”
The 6-7 Paschall averaged 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds this season and led the Wildcats’ starters in field-goal percentage at 53.3. One of Villanova’s three captains this season, the 6-3 Booth, who missed seven games with a broken bone in his right (shooting) hand, averaged 10.0 points per game.
“Phil and Eric are two of the cornerstone leaders of our team,” Wright said. “Each of them is widely respected by their teammates, not just for their talent, but for the kind of young men they are. We are thrilled that they will help lead our team again as seniors.”