What role will Donte DiVincenzo play at Villanova?

Tug Haines

The athletic guard's first stint in the EYBL left us with more questions than answers.

When Donte Divincenzo committed his future to Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats program, it was met with mostly positive reaction from the fanbase. Not only was this a direct win over Syracuse in the fertile Philadelphia recruiting ground (an area which, frustrating as it is to admit, has been dominated by the Orange lately), but it gave the Villanova backcourt an large athletic guard who could impact the game in several ways.

DiVincenzo has been labeled as a scoring guard, mostly due to his star status at tiny Salesianum in Delaware, but has gotten good scouting reviews for his ball-handling, court vision, and ability to impact the game from the defensive end. Mostly an unknown commodity a year ago, the past 12 months has seen his stock rise into the Top 100 in Rivals' recruiting rankings.

With that momentum, DiVincenzo took the court with Team Final in Sacramento, CA last weekend for the first session of the Nike EYBL circuit, which boasts arguably the best AAU competition in the country. Scouts were eager to see how he stacked up against other elite talent. The results, unfortunately, leave us with more questions than answers of how he stacks up, and what role he might play when he arrives on the Main Line. Here's his box score breakdown from the weekend.

Opponent Outcome Minutes FGM-FGA FG% 3PM-3PA 3P% FTM-FTA FT% Points Rebounds Assists Steals Turnovers
The Travelers (KY) W 96-95 (2OT) 32 1-7 14.3% 0-2 0% 3-4 75% 5 4 1 1 1
CIA Bounce (CAN) L 65-63 23 2-6 33.3% 2-4 50% 2-2 100% 8 4 0 3 1
New Jersey Playaz W 74-64 28 2-7 28.5% 0-1 0% 2-2 100% 6 3 0 1 1
MeanStreets (IL) W 74-52 20 2-5 40% 1-1 100% 1-2 50% 6 2 1 2 1
Averages N/A 25.8 7-25 28% 3-8 37.5% 8-10 80% 6.2 3.2 0.5 1.8 1.0

Let me be quick to note that 4 games does not even come close to a fair sample size, so take the following #analysis from me with a grain of salt. It must also be said that since the EYBL is very much a college showcase series, players like Trey Lowe, Levan Alston and Lamarr Kimble are naturally going to see more of the ball and shots because they're out there to impress coaches, whereas DiVincenzo has committed his future already.

All that being said, I found it difficult to peg Donte into the one of the common guard types. He's certainly not a waterbug in the mold of Ryan Boatwright. He's not a set shooter who relies on others. And from what I saw, I wouldn't call him a pass-first point guard. He's good in a lot of areas, but I wouldn't call him great in any one (other than maybe his general athleticism).

The shooting percentages are about what I expected. We know DiVincenzo can stroke it from the outside. I figured his FG% might suffer going up against bigger players than what he has seen in high school this season. From the looks of it, it wasn't as easy for him to create off the bounce. What's more disturbing is the shockingly low number of assists (though the lack of turnovers suggests a mature ball handler).

The rebounds and steals are definitely encouraging. At 6'4" Donte will be relied upon in Villanova's team rebounding strategy and from the one game I watched last weekend, he wasn't afraid to crash the boards and get the ball. His size is definitely an asset on the defensive end as well - as we saw last season when Villanova's press got going, they came by easy points. DiVincenzo should fit right in there.

It will be intriguing to see his development over the spring and summer. The Team Final backcourt might be too crowded for DiVincenzo to really shine, but I for one hope to see him get a bit more involved in the offense.

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