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2016 Villanova Basketball Preview: Omari Spellman

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Spellman was robbed of his freshman season by the NCAA.

Villanova Basketball Media Day Brendan Reilly

Hometown: North Royalton, Ohio

High School: St. Thomas More (Conn.)

Height: 6'9"

Weight: 260

Omari Spellman, the crown jewel of Villanova’s latest recruiting class, was expected to be a major contributer alongside Darryl Reynolds as Jay Wright searched for a replacement for Daniel Ochefu.

And then the NCAA railroaded Spellman just 6 weeks before the season was due to start after keeping him in limbo (causing him to sit out the Spanish exhibition games) for most of the summer.

And because I never got a chance to write about how dumb and incomprehensible this ruling was, I’m going to do that now. You all know the story by now. Spellman went back to 8th grade on the advice of the elite academic school he transferred to, and the NCAA retroactively (based on a new rule) decided to punish him for the advice he got from adults he decided to trust

So yeah, they took him to the woodshed. Why? Who f*cking knows. But I think it is mostly because the NCAA has no spine and refuses to bring the hammer down on anyone lucky enough to be inside the Power 5 structure. So they do it to the schools outside of that structure because they don’t pose the same threat to the NCAA’s greedy existence.

Syracuse may have vacated wins, but their Coach kept his job and their banners are still up. Louisville provided hookers to recruits, and the word is Pitino will see a small suspension. But the banners stay up and he keeps his job. North Carolina created fake classes for athletes for years, and the NCAA may or may not have the sand to take action.

But at Southern Miss, where Donnie Tyndall was charged with Level 1 violations? 10-year show cause. People who say there's no consistency aren't totally correct. The NCAA is plenty consistent when it comes to two things. (1) Protecting the Power 5 programs and (2) screwing over the players.

Omari Spellman transfered schools early in his career - in part because of a family situation - and then transfered again to develop as a basketball player. Just like any other elite basketball player would. He stays back a year for academics reasons on the advice of his teachers. Villanova self-reports that there may be a discrepancy against a new rule. They don’t get caught. Spellman fully qualifies academically and the NCAA decides to make an example of him and take away a year of his athletic career.

It’s absolutely f*cking ridiculous. And it makes you think that cheating is 100% worth the risk as long as these morons are in charge.

So keep your head up Omari. You did nothing wrong. Sometimes life isn’t fair. Especially when you are dealing with out-of-touch beaurocrats.

Best Case Scenario: Pretty simple here. Spellman has had the right attitude since the news broke, and by most reports hasn’t missed a step in terms of practice and training intensity. He’s lost 37 pounds in just a few months. If he goes all in on the John Shackleton School for Freak Muscular Greatness, he’s going to be a beast next season.

Worst Case Scenario: Speaking from personal experience, it’s not easy to get bad news in athletics and keep your mind right. It’s much easier to tell yourself you have a lot of time to stay in shape and get back to the level you were at. While disappointing, it’d be understandable for Spellman to lose the edge during his year off and have to start from scratch next spring and summer.

The Wisdom of Crowds Returns

We are pleased to bring back our Wisdom of Crowds experiment for the 2015-2016 season. Given that Omari won't be playing, he will be excluded from the crowd-sourcing initiative.