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Better Know a Freshman: Villanova Wildcats forward Omari Spellman

Nova’s newest big man could help lead them back to the promised land.

Kevin Klein | Under Armour

The rich get richer, or so they say.

Jay Wright’s Villanova Wildcats are the defending NCAA Champions and look primed to make a strong run in defense of their title on the backs of a glut of returning talent and the man you’re about to meet, Omari Spellman.

Spellman, who will henceforth be known as “Big Beefy,” checks in at a stout 6’9, 269 lbs. (Nice) and was the 19th-ranked recruit in the country in the 2016 cycle according to 247Sports Composite Rankings. The big man has trimmed down a bit in his senior year but carries his weight well.

Michael Bohlin of 247Sports said of Spellman, “As long as Spellman continues to work on transforming his body, he can have a major impact at the next level.”

Coming out of St. Thomas More in Connecticut, the skilled incoming freshman is the ideal fit for the modern college game and may well slot into the starting center spot left vacant by the departing Daniel Ochefu. When the Wildcats landed his verbal commitment on February 20, 2015, ‘Nova fans could see the future of their front court starting to form.

Spellman, like former Wildcat JayVaughn Pinkston, uses his wide body well to seal defenders in the post on offense and to box out on the defensive end. His quickness and agility for his size leaps off the screen at you and he has a very good second bounce when rebounding. Like Pinkston, Spellman can also handle the ball a bit and works well from the elbow and high post.

The thing that is most impressive about the future Wildcat is his shooting from deep. Spellman has a silky smooth shooting stroke that was on full display at last year’s National Prep Invitational when he torched Orangeville Prep and 2016 lottery pick Thon Maker for 27 points, including for buckets from beyond-the-arc.

(Highlights of Spellman’s performance v. Orangeville Prep via YouTube.com)

Spellman’s heft and ability to spread the floor makes Villanova one of the most dangerous offensive teams in the country. Coupled with returning starter and former McDonald’s All-American Jalen Brunson, the ‘Cats could have the best pick-and-pop duo in the nation. For Jay Wright, and fans of the Wildcats, that combination could be a thing of beauty.