Omari Spellman’s numbers spoke for themselves. He finished in the top 10 in scoring average at camp, top five in made free throws and top 10 in defensive rebounds. He also averaged 36 minutes per game and exhibited solid conditioning, an attribute he has drawn criticism for lacking in the past.
In a way Spellman’s reputation wouldn’t seem to matter. He’s already committed to Villanova and can focus on development, rather than having to navigate a recruitment. But the burly big man does care and is out to reaffirm his place among the country’s very best players.
”I feel like rankings aren’t important, but as a basketball player you’re constantly searching for motivation to play,” Spellman said. “I obviously love the game, but motivation gives you that edge.
”On a few sites they dropped me, and for me I can’t tolerate that as a person. I just wanted to go out and kind of prove to some people that the people y’all are putting in front of me are not better than me.”
Consider the point made. Spellman not only successfully battled his 2016 peers, he went toe to toe with touted rising juniors such as DeAndre Ayton.
He always has possesses excellent hands and surprisingly nimble feet for a big man. He can squeeze through double teams in the post with far greater dexterity than one might expect, and he possesses good interior shooting touch as well. Although he’s unlikely to become a spot-up shooter for the Wildcats, Spellman does knock down some threes as a trailer from the top of the key.
Along with adding layers to his game, he’s attempting to sharpen and smooth out the layers on his body. He said he weighs 257 pounds and seeks to get down to 250.
”(Getting to) 250 the way I play is a solid weight,” he said. “Obviously, I need to tone up, more muscle and less body fat.”
Spellman projects as an outstanding freshman year contribute for VU. He chose the Wildcats largely on the basis of their man in charge.
”In my opinion Jay Wright is the best head coach in the country,” he said. “He puts his guys, especially his forwards, in position to be successful. We sat down and we’ve had conversations about how he’s going to put me in those same positions to be successful.
”I think I’ll be a great fit there, and I can walk in and play with Jalen Brunson.”
Spellman will finish out his summer on the Nike circuit, including at the prestigious Peach Jam to kick off the July evaluation period, and potentially Kansas City to close out the month.