Brew City Big Ragu: Bucks draft Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo 17th
The hot-shooting redhead nicknamed The Big Ragu is coming to Brew City, and he wants Giannis Antetokounmpo to try his mother's homemade pasta.
The Bucks selected Villanova sophomore guard Donte DiVincenzo with the 17th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. DiVincenzo, who scored 31 points in the Wildcats' NCAA Championship Game win over Michigan and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four, brings 3-point shooting, elite athleticism, versatility and, hopefully, his mom's recipe to Milwaukee.
After showing NBA evaluators his physical ability and competitiveness at the 2018 Draft Combine, where he posted a 42-inch max vertical leap, tied for the best among participating players, DiVincenzo impressed Bucks executives and coaches during his pre-draft visit to Milwaukee.
"Obviously, we had a group of guys that we target when we go through this process," said Bucks general manager Jon Horst. "Donte was our guy. If you were up there and saw the elation in our room when he got there – we were worried about it. We thought he was going to go a bit before us.
"But for us to be able to get him ... a guy that has positional size, that can shoot, pass, dribble, defend at a high level, compete and, again, to win at a high level, he's proven he can do that. Very excited to have him."
DiVincenzo was a bit of an unconventional draft prospect, a reserve player who shot and jumped himself into the first-round conversation, thanks to his breathtaking performance in the title game and strong display at the combine.
The 6-foot-5, 205-pounder came off the bench all season for dominant Villanova, averaging 13.4 points and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 40 percent on 3-pointers, ultimately being named the 2017-18 Big East 6th Man of the Year. His 31 points in the Wildcats' 79-62 win over the Wolverines tied for the second-most individual points ever scored in a NCAA championship game.
"They're a playoff team and they're ... on the rise," DiVincenzo said of the Bucks. "My job is just coming there with no ego and just be the hardest worker and just build confidence in the people around me."
And what does he think about playing with Antetokounmpo?
"Unreal," DiVincenzo said. "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."
As for what the Bucks are getting: a fearless player with a confident personality, positional versatility, shooting range and first-class physical gifts – a combo guard who is quick, good in pick-and-roll situations, a deft passer and solid defensively. He fills a major backcourt need for the Bucks, who have lacked a secondary playmaker off the bench, and should immediately provide energy, outside shooting and ballhandling.
"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," Horst said. "And not only did he do it, he did it at a high level."
DiVincenzo isn't great offensively in isolation or as an individual shot creator, but he should develop into a dependable, jack-of-all-trades role player who will make a positive impact and not hurt the team when he's on the floor. That may not sound like much, until you remember the same can't be said about the last two players the Bucks drafted at No. 17 – D.J. Wilson in 2017 and Rashad Vaughn in 2015.
And, if nothing else, his mom's homemade pasta will make a tasty addition to Giannis' offseason food tour.
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