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Villanova’s shooting center, Omari Spellman, staying in NBA draft

Final Four Michigan Villanova Basketball

Villanova’s Omari Spellman (14) holds the championship trophy as he walks to the locker room after the championship game of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament against Michigan, Monday, April 2, 2018, in San Antonio. Villanova won 79-62. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)


Could national-champion Villanova send four players to the first round of the 2018 NBA draft?

Mikal Bridges is a lock. Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson are borderline.

So is Omari Spellman, and he’s giving himself a chance.

Spellman played only one year at Villanova, but he redshirted before that. So, he’s old for a freshman, turning 21 in July.

At 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan, Spellman is definitely a center. But he also shoots well from beyond the arc, making 43% of his 3.8 3-point attempts per game last season. He’ll be useful in the pick-and-pop and spotting up. NBA teams want players like the one he projects to be.

But Spellman’s weight looms over his potential. It’s down – to 254 pounds at the combine – but still an issue. Spellman isn’t quick or much of a leaper.

To his credit, Spellman compensated by reading the game well and frequently getting a step ahead of where just his athleticism would suggest. Will that translate to the NBA? Probably not immediately, as he adjusts to the more complex league. Maybe not ever, considering the NBA’s superior athleticism.

But perhaps Spellman continues to get in shape and unlocks more of his own athleticism.

He’s somewhat of a project, but he has the outline of an interesting player.