Brooklyn Nets Draft Prospect: Omari Spellman

Villanova forward making the leap after strong freshman year

Some of the most popular projections for the Nets in the upcoming NBA Draft are focused on a contingent of guards. But when it comes to big men, attention turns this do-it-all freshman coming off a national championship in his only season at Villanova.


Two draft prognosticators at CBSSPORTS.COM – Reid Forgrave and Matt Norlander – are somewhat in agreement here. Both like the Nets as a landing spot for Spellman. Back on April 26, Forgrave projected Spellman for Brooklyn with the first-round pick at No. 29. On June 5, Norlander had the Nets taking Spellman at No. 40. USATODAY.COM also had Spellman as the Nets’ first-round pick on May 16, while SI.COM slotted him to the Nets at No. 40 on May 21. Nets beat reporter Michael Scotto of THEATHLETIC.COM projected Spellman to the Nets with the No. 40 pick in his mock draft of June 8.


Though he played just one season at Villanova, the 6-foot-9 forward will be 21 years old in July. A five-star recruit who starred in the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center in 2016, Spellman redshirted his first year at Villanova as a partial academic qualifier. He’s one of four Villanova early-entry candidates in this draft, along with Jalen Brunson, Mikal Bridges and Donte DiVincenzo, all of whom have been projected as first-round selections in multiple mock drafts. Spellman announced shortly before last week’s NCAA deadline that he would be remaining in the draft.


Spellman made the most of his only college season, earning Big East Freshman of the Year honors and playing a huge role in Villanova’s 36-4 national championship season. He averaged 10.9 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game while shooting 43 percent from 3-point range on 3.8 attempts per game.


It’s that shooting range that is driving the most optimistic takes on Spellman. He profiles as a stretch 4 with a solid stroke from mid-range and beyond the arc. At 6-9 and 245 pounds – down from 300 when he arrived at Villanova – he’s got bulk to bang in the paint and a 7-2 wingspan, but isn’t particularly explosive in getting off the floor.

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