Elite Beast From the Big East

Leader Johnson shares his perspective on Villanova big man, Omari Spellman ...

Omari Spellman is a special player - a guy of size and finesse.  At 6-9, 275, he is a beast inside and deadly outside.  His game is built to dominate on both sides of the floor.  Spellman had to spend the 2016-17 season on “academic redshirt”.  Had he he played, Villanova would have added perhaps had enough bulk to make another deep run at the title.  

The “violation” he got was in part because he was a good kid and chose to listen - something a lot of this generation doesn’t do.  His academics mattered, his athletics mattered, his life mattered, but he was punished.  The big kid from the city of North Royalton, Ohio has been through a very bumpy road. He transferred twice in order to better himself.  A top 20 player in 2016 and a 5 star recruit, Spellman amassed a 43-5 record in two years at North Royalton and averaged 22 points and nearly 10 rebounds per game his last year prior to transferring to MacDuffie high school in Massachusetts. His coach at North Royalton, Tim Matus, said Spellman is “special and one of a kind” - great things to say about a teenager playing a man’s sport.  His dominance in the paint is unmatched - he can push people over and command rebounds making the paint his territory or he can step outside allowing a guard to penetrate and then make you pay for leaving him open.

At the Jordan Brand classic in 2016, NBA prospects such as Malik Monk, De ’Aaron Fox, Markelle Fultz and Jayson Tatum were all on display yet Omari was not fazed displaying his skills while collecting 12 points and 15 rebounds in a game high 29 minutes.  He displayed great stamina and he got the only double-double of that game but his performance was under-appreciated … but Spellman, the ultimate competitor and player, just let his play do the talking. 

Looking at the big men of that 2016 High School class there is no one with his size and skill.  You can talk Edrice Adebayo, Zach Collins, Lauri Markkanen, even Harry Giles but as a true big man there is none more deadlier than Spellman.  No one will overpower him inside and his jump shot is just as deadly as his inside game.  At the 2015 NBAPA top 100 camp with such NBA prospects as Michael Porter Jr., Mohamed Bamba, DeAndre Ayton, and Trevon Duval in attendance, Spellman had the best performance among all prospects tallying 24 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 3 steals on 2-2 from beyond the arc and 8-12 from the field.  When it’s time to play, Spellman will show out.  He is a big gamer.

On Feb. 20th 2015, on a special day a day that Spellman thought would be double perfect - his mom’s birthday was the day he made his commitment.  After many schools, including Arizona, UCLA, his “hometown school” Ohio St. and Kentucky, all showed interested, he chose Villanova, a school that like himself was under-appreciated but dominant and successful.  He chose the class of college basketball - Jay Wright and the Villanova Wildcats.  

During that year he also transferred again, even though Spellman said MacDuffie high school helped him develop tremendously and that he has nothing but respect for MacDuffie, he took his game to St. Thomas More in Connecticut, where he averaged 16 points and 7 rebounds per game.  

The 2017-18 season could be another special one for Villanova.  Joining Omari Spellman as first year players is a 2017 High School class made up of under-rated Pennsylvania guys like 4-star, explosive power forward, Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree and all-around, 4 star, point guard, Collin Gillespie and the 5-star, electric, small forward, Jermaine Samuels out of Massachusetts.  These new faces will join forces with Mikal Bridges, Eric Paschall, Jalen Brunson, Donte DiVincenzo, Phil Booth, Dylan Painter and Tim Delaney.

The time is now for Omari Spellman.  After the over looks and the hold backs, you can only hold a beast back for so long and you can’t stop destiny.  His god-given talents and his mature mindset have separated him from many.  His patience and hard work have made him a consistent model of progress.  There is only one thing we are waiting on now - when the game starts and the ball is in his hands on a college basketball floor.  Is the NCAA ready for his wrath?  When they took the title from Ali his wrath was unleashed when he won it back from Foreman.  When Tom Brady was suspended his wrath was unleashed on the Atlanta Falcons when he won the Super Bowl.  Are you all ready for Omari Spellman?

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