Villanova’s NBA losses give Jay Wright the chance to prove he’s building the next Duke

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For the first time in the NCAA tournament, perhaps all season, Jay Wright looked unprepared.Moments earlier, Villanova had capped off its second national championship in a three-year stretch with a 17-point title game romp over Michigan that showcased the breathtaking depth of talent Wright had assembled. Even with the national player of the year in Jalen Brunson and a likely lottery pick in Mikal Bridges, the story of the night was sixth man Donte DiVincenzo, who paired a 5-for-7 shooting performance from the three-point line with a handful of stunningly athletic plays on both ends of the court that turned him into an instant sensation both on social media and among NBA front office types.But when asked at his news conference if DiVincenzo had done enough on that stage to put him in the NBA draft mix, Wright reacted as if the thought had never before crossed his mind that DiVincenzo might not be back for his redshirt junior year.“I’m a college coach,” Wright said. “Sometimes it amazes me, I don’t have a great feel for how they make decisions on drafting. I probably would make a horrible GM. So I don’t know. But we’ll find out. We’ll definitely look into it.”As it turned out, DiVincenzo’s decision to turn pro was easier than anyone anticipated, just as it was for Brunson, Bridges and ultimately big man Omari Spellman, who officially declared for the draft before the deadline to withdraw on Wednesday.And just like that, a Villanova machine that would have probably been favored to win it all again had even two of those players returned is basically starting over with unfamiliar faces and unproven pieces.

 

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