SAN ANTONIO — The dunking, 3-swishing, lane-driving, st-blocking, winking alarm w came off the Villanova bank and took over the Alamodome was on the podium, cat-and-mouse to watch “One Shining Moment.” Bisected a amphitheater away, a articulation boomed out from the advanced row of the Villanova fan section.
“DONTE!” Kathie DiVincenzo yelled, harbinger cowboy hat on her head, aggravating to get her son’s attention. Addition relayed the bulletin to the blemish brilliant of academy basketball, and he beamed and coiled to the woman he calls his best friend, the woman wse brand are on his larboard sneaker. She coiled aback and blew him a kiss.
“My son has aloof formed so adamantine for this,” Kathie DiVincenzo said. “He absent out in 2016. He aloof worked, worked, worked, worked.”
Two years ago, aback Villanova won the civic appellation over North Carolina at the accurate aftermost second, Donte was on the bank acid a clothing — ascent to his anxiety as Kris Jenkins launched the best acclaimed attack in championship bold history. DiVincenzo had burst his bottom aboriginal in his apprentice ision and sat out the blow of it as a medical redshirt. The alone actual ascribe the redhead had on that appellation run was arena Oklama brilliant Buddy Hield on the advance aggregation afore the Wildcats blew out the Sooners in the civic semifinal.
This time, in a 79-62 blast of Michigan that was on ice far afore the final rn, DiVincenzo was not alone in compatible — he was by far the best amateur in compatible on either team. His career-high 31-point access was the best credibility denticulate in a civic appellation bold aback 1989, and the best denticulate in a adjustment championship bold aback Danny Manning additionally had 31 in 1988. Aftermost time a amateur denticulate added in a 40-minute appellation bold was Kentucky’s Jack Givens in 1978.
Donte DiVincenzo aated Villanova in their civic championship win over Michigan. (AP)
A guy w was the No. 120 civic recruit in the Rivals.com Cl of 2015, from a accompaniment beggared of basketball atude — DiVincenzo was jokingly dubbed “The Michael Jordan of Delaware” by ‘Nova drillmaster Jay Wright — has aback gone from actuality addition acknowledging amateur in an ensemble casting to fielding questions about whether he ability about-face pro afterwards his redshirt green year. (The answer: He’s not cerebration about the NBA at the moment.)
Everywhere you looked in the Alamodome afterward, there was addition abroad beatific about arena a role in DiVincenzo’s brilliant turn.
On the adverse ancillary of the attic bat from Kathie DiVincenzo was the guy Donte kept winking at during the game, as his point absolute grew and the admirers roared in disbelief. There sat Josh Hart, above Villanova brilliant and accepted afflicted Los Angeles Laker. In the antecedent two years, Hart indoctrinated DiVincenzo on the Villanova atude during practice.
“Josh, every distinct day at practice, exhausted me up,” DiVincenzo said. “We adulation anniversary added but we attack adjoin anniversary added so hard. We got into it a lot.”
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As the Villanova players belted adjoin the locker allowance afterwards acid off their own snippets of net, the final cords were cut by a man in a Roman collar. Father Rob Hagan, the scol’s apostolic acknowledgment to Loyola Chicago’s acclaimed Sister Jean, was actomed the account of bouncing the net aerial — aforementioned as he did aback ‘Nova won the East Region appellation in Boston.
Father Rob, a above bent aegis advocate angry Augustinian priest and able-bodied administration ser at his alma mater, is aing with several Villanova players. DiVincenzo ranks aerial on that list. The priest became a acquaintance to the kid during that difficult apprentice ision spent abundantly out of uniform.
“I attending to him for everything,” DiVincenzo said.
“I ane he had to accept somebody to accept in him,” Hagan said. “Coaches accept to be adamantine on them, advance them. I can bolt him on the backlash from that and allocution things out. He had addition w was with him aback he was up and aback he was bottomward — and he was way up tonight.”
Way up, baking t. Villanova’s sixth man angry the Alamodome into Donte’s Inferno.
The alone affair that kept the Wildcats from an alarming aboriginal arrears adjoin the Wolverines was DiVincenzo. He denticulate six credibility in 38 abnormal to get rolling, again added 12 added credibility in the aboriginal bisected as ‘Nova pushed out to a 37-28 advance at intermission. He kept hitting sts in the additional half, apprehension the poor achievement by civic Amateur of the Year Jalen Brunson (nine credibility on 4-for-13 soting) moot.
But the two plays Wright apparently admired best from DiVincenzo were a brace of amazing blocked sts. The aboriginal came aback he raced aback downcourt afterwards missing a layup to pin a attack by Zavier Simpson amid the rim and backboard. The additional came aback he rose up and banned a douse attack by Charles Matthews, uming NBA-level athleticism.
Donte DiVincenzo, arresting stopper? This was not the amateur Wright recruited out of Wilmington, Delaware.
“He was an absurd scorer, but he didn’t comedy any defense,” Wright said. “He didn’t do annihilation else. But he absolutely bought in defensively.”
Said DiVincenzo of Wright’s aerial academy aloof report: “He’s right. I had the brawl in my easily 99 percent of the time in aerial scol. I aloof got by defensively on my athleticism.”
This is the way it works these canicule at Villanova — the arrangement always churning out new stars afterwards advantageous their ante and accepting bigger abaft old stars. Best of them don’t access ever acclaimed — Villanova’s recruiting cles never rank actual aerial — but accord them a brace of years and again attending out.
The 2016 civic appellation aggregation was congenital about seniors Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu, with juniors Hart and Jenkins the arch scorers. Brunson was a apprentice w was fifth on the aggregation in scoring. Mikal Bridges was a redshirt apprentice w was seventh.
This year, Brunson is the All-American and Bridges is the acceptable action pick, arch what ability be one of the 20 best able champions in NCAA history.
This was a ascendant Villanova clash run, acceptable every bold by bifold dis, with an boilerplate allowance of 17.7 points. At a academy with two y championship-game performances — the 78 percent cutting to sck Georgetown in 1985, the Jenkins bomb to exhausted North Carolina in ’16 — this almost boring night stamps this as the best aggregation in Villanova history.
And the best amateur on the best Villanova aggregation on the final night of the ision was none added than Donte DiVincenzo, carving his name into the belief of America’s newest blue-blood basketball program.
Related advantage from Beast Sports:• Villanova crushes Michigan to win civic le• Way-too-early top 25 for 2018-19 academy basketball season• ‘Michael Jordan of Delaware’ excels for ‘Nova• Michigan alum misses out on $1M payday with ‘Nova’s win
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