The mark of a great team is depth. Villanova definitely has plenty of it and flexed it heavily in winning the 2018 NCAA Mens Basketball Championship. It was a game in which the Wildcats’ star player Jalen Brunson who won the Naismith Player of the Year award on Monday, took a back seat to his sophomore understudy Donte DiVincenzo who scored 31-points in a 79-62 win to secure Villanova’s second NCAA title in three seasons.
MOP goes to Donte DiVincenzo 31PTS (5 threes) 5REBS 3ASTS 2BLKS #NationalChampionship https://t.co/CaMpZrrbDp
DiVincenzo is known as the Michael Jordan of Delaware basketball where he dominated high school competition. Hes also known as The Big Ragu because of his Italian heritage and red hair. On Monday night he made all of Italy proud. Divincenzo’s 31 points were the most by a bench player since his teammate Phil Booth scored 20 off the pine in 2016 and Ron Mercer did it back in 1996 for Kentucky.
The red-haired laser launcher also joins Glen Rice in 1989 as the only player with 30 or more points and 5 3-pt field goals in national title games.
Donte DiVincenzo joins Glen Rice (1989) as the only players with 30 points and 5 3-pt FG in a national title game.
Brunson set the tone early, hitting his first two shots but the All-American got into some foul trouble as the game was tightening. Most teams would be in trouble without its Player of the Year on the court, but Big Ragu stepped up like Johnny Gill when Bobby Brown left New Edition and gave Nova Nation a preview of what will again be the best backcourt in the Nation in 2018-19 if DiVincenzo, Booth, and guard/forward Mikal Bridges all return for one more magical run.
You cant put this into words, said Brunson while standing at the podium being interviewed by Jim Nantz. I love my team…I love Nova nation. There were guys who came before us and they set the tone…we’re just carrying on tradition man.
Another honor for Jalen! Congrats to Jalen Brunson for winning the 2018 Citizen Naismith Player of the Year https://t.co/X0Amr3Zluv
Villanova steamrolled through this NCAA tourney. With all of the upsets and Cinderella surprises, in the end those moments proved to be nothing more than sidebars and sideshow entertainment for the Villanova Wildcat main event featuring an unlikely hero in DiVincenzo, who snatched Most Outstanding Player honors and helped Brunson join Rice, Danny Manning, Christian Laettner and Shane Battier as just the fifth player in the last 30 years to win Naismith Player of the Year honors and a National Championship.
Donte DiVincenzo is a FLAMETHROWER
DiVincenzo doesnt even start. He usually finds himself on the bench to start each game while junior Booth gets the start. But DiVincenzo is usually the first guy off the bench and on Monday night he quadrupled the output of Michigan’s bench by himself. He was third on the team this season with 13.0 points per game and won the Big East Sixth Man of the Year, so his performance was far from a fluke.
BOOMIN’ OUT IN NORTHWEST PHILLY LIKE I’M DONTE DIVINCENZO (via @CBSSports) https://t.co/hwT7EW15qU
It was a glimpse of greatness to come. It was confirmation that Brunson’s time as Nova’s go-to guy had come to an end. When the buzzer sounded it was DiVincenzo that would have the ball in his hands.
Analyst Charles Barkley predicted DiVincenzo would be playing in the NBA one day. First, he has a National Player of the Year award to capture next season, carrying on the tradition of Villanova guards that have left impactful marks on college basketball over the past decade.