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2017 Villanova Basketball Season Recap: Donte DiVincenzo

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The redshirt freshman was one of the team’s most improved players from start to finish.

NCAA Basketball: Virginia at Villanova Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Donte DiVincenzo’s Season Stats

Season G MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
Season G MP FG FGA FG% 2P 2PA 2P% 3P 3PA 3P% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
2015-16 9 8.2 0.7 2.3 28.6% 0.3 0.4 75.0% 0.3 1.9 17.6% 0 0 0.0% 1.8 0.4 0.4 0 0.8 1.1 1.7
2016-17 36 25.5 3 6.5 46.6% 1.9 3.3 56.3% 1.2 3.2 36.5% 1.6 2.3 69.9% 3.8 1.7 0.9 0.3 1.4 1.6 8.8

After his first season on campus was hampered by a broken foot, Donte DiVincenzo was set to have a small yet important role coming off the bench behind Mikal Bridges and Eric Paschall. But then Phil Booth’s injury happened, and DiVincenzo became the team’s 6th man and the only other “point guard” after Jalen Brunson.

While there were some growing pains around decision making, handle, and confidence, the additional playing time did wonders for DiVincenzo’s game. By the end of the season, he had become one of the team’s best scoring options and was on the court in most close game situations. In his last 5 games, he used 24% of the team’s offensive possessions and averaged 15 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.4 assists. That’s more points than Jalen Brunson and more rebounds and assists than Josh Hart during the same games.

While there were several highlights from the season due to the aggressive and athletic way the “Big Ragu” attacks the boards, none was bigger than his buzzer beating tip-in to beat Virginia at home. While head coach Jay Wright would joke afterwards that the play went exactly the way he drew it up, it highlighted what makes DiVincenzo so special. He was the only player from either team to crash the boards from the perimeter.

Did Donte DiVincenzo meet or exceed expectations in 2017?

Not only did he blow expectations out of the water, I don’t think anyone would have guessed that he could be this good this quick. Wisdom of the crowds had him at 5.1-6.5 PPG. He finished with 8.8 PPG on the season, including averaging double digits over his last 22 games.

Defensively there’s still areas for improvement, but not many. His physical tools, and especially his ability to rebound, already make him more than capable of being depended on late in games when we need a stop. In a season where Eric Paschall played almost exclusive the forward position while DiVincenzo was in the backcourt, the Big Ragu still had more rebounds. Seriously, the kid’s incredible on the boards.

So what’s next for the “Michael Jordan of Delaware”? It’s hard to see his role being reduced after the way he closed out this season. Despite the returns of Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges, along with the addition of Omari Spellman, DiVincenzo has a legitimate chance to lead the team in scoring next season. He has the size, speed, and strength to play anywhere from the 1 to the 4. And considering that the team loses two players that each played 30+ minutes, there will be plenty of PT for the rising sophomore. Bottom line, he’ll be a big part of Nova’s success next season.