Villanova Basketball 2017-2018 Preview
2016-17 Record: 32-4
Key Losses: Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Darryl Reynolds
Key Additions: Omari Spellman, Jermaine Samuels, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree
Coming off of a Championship season, last year’s Wildcat team looked as strong as ever. Ranked at the number one spot for much of the season, and lead by Wooden Award finalist and now Laker draft pick Josh Hart, Villanova looked ready to make another run at the championship, until they were stopped by an experienced Wisconsin team in the second round.
This year, junior point guard Jalen Brunson will look to carry his squad back to another deep tournament run. He will have some help from returning sophomore Donte DiVincenzo and junior Mikal Bridges.
Brunson was arguably one of the best players on last year’s Villanova team, and this year, undoubtedly is. A strong ball handler and scorer, Jalen Brunson can shoot it from deep (38% last season) and can take it strong inside, finishing impossible layups with ease.
Villanova has a pretty solid freshman recruiting class this year as well. Head coach Jay Wright was able to lure not one, but two ESPN Top 100 freshman. Forward Jermaine Samuels should be a good replacement for Kris Jenkins and small forward Cosby-Roundtree should be able to come off of the bench and make some noise behind Donte DiVincenzo this year.
DiVincenzo has some big shoes to fill in the Wildcats’ offense, but if last year is any indicator, he seems ready to fill them. In Villanova’s two tournament games against Mount St. Mary’s and Wisconsin last season, the sophomore scored 21 and 15 points respectively. It is looking more and more like the lanky kid from Delaware could turn out to be a big time player for Nova.
One question mark for the Wildcats last year, and now this year, will be five star recruit Omari Spellman. Last year spellman joined the team but was listed as an academic redshirt. This season will be his first year of eligibility and the kid has some real potential. A great scorer with a 6’9”, 275 pound frame is an exciting idea, and should take some of the offensive pressure away from Jalen Brunson when he snakes his way into the paint. Wildcat fans hope that Spellman will live up to the hype.
Villanova should be set for another solid year with Brunson at point position leading their offense. And with young players around him (Villanova doesn’t have a single senior on scholarship this year), Jay Wright and the Wildcats look poised for continued success for years to come.
Prospective starting lineup:
- Jalen Brunson
- Mikal Bridges
- Donte DiVincenzo
- Jermaine Samuels
- Omari Spellman
Photo credit: csnphilly.com