Omari Spellman, Villanova
6-foot-9, 245 pounds
Three college highlights
1. In Villanova’s Final Four game against Kansas, Spellman posted 15 points and 13 rebounds in the Wildcats’ blowout win. Showing off his entire repertoire, Spellman also blocked three shots in the win. At the Final Four, coach Jay Wright offered these words on the freshman’s drastic growth throughout the season. “If not for (Spellman) and his development, we probably wouldn’t be at this point [in the 2018 national title game]. Our guys, they’ve each improved, but not at the rate that Omari has.”
2. In a mid-December win over Temple, Spellman notched a career-high 27 points, guiding Villanova to a 20-point win. He made 11 of his 14 shots attempts, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. It didn’t take the freshman long to establish himself as one of the more integral components, offensively and defensively, on the veteran-laden team.
3. Though Spellman scored just eight points in the national title game, he led the effort in shutting down Michigan’s sharpshooting forward Duncan Robinson. Robinson finished the game scoreless, as Spellman and the Wildcats lifted the trophy in a comfortable 17-point win.
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Spellman — in one season at Villanova — proved to be an elite shooter (noticing a theme of Hawks’ draft?), a big guy capable of spacing the floor. Spellman was an integral part of the Wildcats’ national championship run, complementing star point guard Jalen Brunson and wing Mikal Bridges as the Big East’s freshman of the year. He scored nearly 11 points per game, while shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range. Spellman also grabbed 11.4 rebounds per 40 minutes last season and blocked 1.4 shots per game. His 7-foot-2 wingspan suggests those are strengths that could translate to the NBA. At pick 30, the Hawks grabbed a player with multiple NBA-caliber skills, ready to help immediately.
Though he only played one season at Villanova, he will turn 21 in July, and appears to be at, or near, a finished product. He’s 6-9 — not big enough to defend traditional bigs and likely not quite athletic enough to stay in front of quicker guards — and has struggled with his weight in the past. He’s a “tweener” by old NBA standards — guys like Draymond Green have proven why that term has become archaic, but not entirely dispelled its merits. Though his size won’t immediately preclude Spellman from finding a role with the Hawks, he will have to develop defensively to sustain his spot.
How he fits on the Hawks
He’s a shooter. Travis Schlenk clearly has an affinity for those. Spellman will be a viable pick-and-pop threat for new Hawks point guard Trae Young, and could see some minutes right away on a thin Hawks team. SportsIllustrated.com compared Spellman to former Hawk Boris Diaw.
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