Donte DiVincenzo’s draft stock started rising after a breakout performance in the NCAA Tournament championship game.
Now the sixth man for Villanova’s title-winning squad is a first-round draft choice for one of the NBA’s up-and-coming teams. The Milwaukee Bucks selected DiVincenzo with the 17th overall pick of the NBA draft on Thursday night.
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”And to watch him come off the bench the majority of the time and contribute and produce the way that he did, shows that he really not only says that he wants to play a role in winning and will sacrifice and do whatever it takes to win, but he actually did it,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. ”And not only did he do it, he did it at a high level.”
Starting just 10 games last year, DiVincenzo was named the top sixth man in the Big East after averaging 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. His 31-point outburst against Michigan in the title game, including five 3-pointers [url=http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kerryon-johnson-jersey]http://www.lionsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-kerryon-johnson-jersey[/url] , helped scouts take notice of the 6-foot-5 sophomore.
They were also wowed by DiVincenzo’s combine-best 42-inch vertical leap. His athleticism fits a roster with a core led by All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo, the 6-foot-11 forward with a 7-3 wingspan.
Perhaps most important to the Bucks, DiVincenzo shot 40 percent from 3-point range last season.
The Bucks shot 35.5 percent from 3-point range last season, tied for 21st in the NBA. They averaged just 8.8 3s a game, 27th in the league. Better shooting from teammates could give Antetokounmpo even more room to maneuver in the lane for a highlight-reel bucket.
”Unreal,” DiVincenzo said at the draft in Brooklyn when asked about playing with Antetokounmpo. ”My job is to just to go in there and make sure he has all the confidence in the world that I’m on the court with him.”
The Bucks had their pick of wings with shooting ability with the 17th pick, with Miami’s Lonnie Walker and Maryland’s Kevin Huerter also on the board. They could also use a rugged interior defender and rebounder.
But DiVincenzo was too good to pass up. He also played in a pro-style system at Villanova, which Horst said could help the guard get better acclimated to the NBA.
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DiVincenzo will still have to earn playing time from Mike Budenholzer, who was hired last month to replace interim coach Joe Prunty. In Budenholzer, Horst hired a coach with a reputation for player development who took the Atlanta Hawks to the Eastern Conference finals in 2015.
One of the league’s up-and-coming franchises hopes to take another step forward after first-round playoff exits in three of the past four seasons. The Bucks are also moving into a new arena this fall.
”They’re a playoff team and they’re … on the rise,” DiVincenzo said. ”My job is just coming there with no ego and just be the hardest worker and just build confidence in the people around me.”
As former Indianapolis Colts coach Chuck Pagano and general manager Chris Ballard attended Edwin Jackson’s funeral in Atlanta on Monday, team owner Jim Irsay announced he was donating $25,000 to establish the Edwin Jackson Memorial Scholarship in memory of the former linebacker.
Jackson and his Uber driver, Jeffrey Monroe, were both killed in a traffic accident Feb. 4.
Irsay issued a statement Monday calling Jackson a ”wonderful young man” who is already missed and that he wants to honor Jackson’s memory [url=http://www.authenticsbuffalobills.com/cheap-josh-allen-jersey]Josh Allen Jersey Elite[/url] , determination, work ethic and character with the scholarship. He is working with Jackson’s family to establish guidelines for a scholarship that will be awarded annually.
It will be separate from other scholarships awarded by the Indianapolis Colts Foundation.
”That smile, that amazing smile – God he could light up a room,” Pagano wrote on Twitter, honoring Jackson. ”And the energy and passion and fire and juice and love and determination and drive and dedication seeped out of this young man.”
Ballard remembered Jackson as the guy who introduced himself every day after he first took the job last January, just so Ballard wouldn’t forget who he was.
But their relationship went even deeper.
”I started to ask Edwin: Where we going? What’s our next step?,” Ballard wrote on Twitter. ”And Edwin got a big, bright smile on his face and he talked about school and how we were going to finish [url=http://www.authenticsdallascowboys.com/cheap-dorance-armstrong-jr.-jersey]Dorance Armstrong Jr. Color Rush Jersey[/url] , but he thought he had more to do; he had more to do in the league.”
Jackson was 26 years old.
Irsay also sent condolences again to Monroe’s family. Last week, Irsay offered to pay for the funerals of both men.
Donations to the scholarship fund can be made online at .