Omari Spellman – Villanova
CPP Big Board Ranking: #40 Overall (#6 PF/#8 C)
Weight: 255 lbs
Age/Birthday: 20 (7/21/97)
Hometown: North Royalton, Ohio
High School: St. Thomas More School
(Grant Kobrin – 6/20/18)
Omari Spellman, the red-shirt freshman out of Villanova, went through the pre-draft process after winning the national championship this past college basketball season over Michigan. Omari Spellman ultimately decided to keep his name in the draft after working out for several NBA teams, and having an impressive showing at the NBA combine. Spellman most recently projects to be a late first-round pick or top of the second-round pick in the draft. Omari Spellman has impressed NBA executives with his advanced post moves, ability to stretch the floor as a big man, and his motor and rebounding ability. His game seems to meet the modern positionless way of basketball that exists in the NBA today. Omari Spellman is an older prospect than his class standing indicates, as he was forced to redshirt his freshman year due to an eligibility ruling by the NCAA, when he was already a bit older for his age. He will be 21 years old before he plays in his first NBA game. Despite being a bit older, Omari Spellman still has a lot of potential, and should be able to make an impact at the next level.
Omari Spellman proved to have a decent post move at Villanova, and is fairly comfortable playing with his back to the basket. He has great footwork, and is a good finisher overall. He showed flashes of having a great turnaround hook in the post. Omari Spellman is also a threat operating from mid-range, where he is a good face-up player and can shoot over his defenders well. His jump shot is very advanced for someone of his size and style of play, and his mechanics are very solid. He has a high release and it is relatively quick for someone of his size. Omari Spellman’s greatest value in the NBA may conceivably be as a floor spacer, where he shot over 43% from beyond the arc, which is phenomenal for a big man. This was on nearly 4 attempts per game, so he certainly solidified himself as a three-point threat in college, where he is very comfortable as a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter. His jumper projects out to the NBA three-point line, which should definitely boost his stock in the draft. Because of Spellman’s ability to knock down three-pointers in college, he became a threat attacking the rim, where he was able to utilize an effective pump fake to create space where he could attack the rim. He is an above the rim-finisher, and showed the ability to finish at a high level overall. This was shown not only on drives to the basket, but also on instances, where he was able to finish while cutting or flashing into the paint.
Rebounding is another major strength for Omari Spellman, where he was able to grab 9 rebounds per game in his freshman campaign. Omari Spellman specifically has shown the ability to grab offensive rebounds, where he is able to create second and third chance opportunities for his team. Spellman is also a major threat on tip-ins off of the offensive glass. Defensively, Omari Spellman was a plus-defender in college, but there are definitely questions about who he exactly is going to guard at the next level. He is a physical player, and has a great motor, so this should help him compete defensively at the next level. His defensive concerns will be addressed later on in this article., however, Omari Spellman proved to be an excellent shot blocker and rim protector in college. He averaged nearly 2 blocks a game and proved to have excellent shot blocking instincts. He changed the course of many shots from opposing players this past season. Omari Spellman projects to be a floor spacing big at the next level, but also has a solid post game, and is a proven rebounder and rim protector.
Omari Spellman’s main concern as a prospect is his conditioning. Spellman seems to be out of shape, as he seemed to be frequently out of breath during this past season for Villanova. Additionally, Omari Spellman had the second highest body fat percentage at the NBA combine with 13.75% body fat, which was right behind Jontay Porter who ultimately decided to withdraw from the draft. However, Omari Spellman does seem to be trending in the right direction towards getting into appropriate basketball shape. He has reportedly lost over 50 pounds since his arrival at Villanova, which is definitely encouraging. Additionally, Spellman did play over 28 minutes a game for a high-tempo Villanova team this past season, so he must be in better shape than scouts give him credit for. However, Omari Spellman does still have work to do in this area of the game. Besides conditioning and weight concerns, Omari Spellman seems a bit undersized at the next level. Omari Spellman measured at only 6’8” without shoes at the NBA combine, which is not necessarily any shorter than NBA executives expected him to measure, but he primarily played center in college. There is reason to think that he is going to need to develop into primarily a power forward at the next level. Being undersized may cause him to have some defensive issues at the next level against bigger, lengthier, more athletic big men. This seems to be a concern for a lot of bigs coming into the league, but this still definitely causes a red flag for Omari Spellman. It is unclear who he will be most successful guarding at the next level on the defensive end of the court. Lastly, Omari Spellman needs to improve on his decision making, and is a below average passer for a big man. This combination could cause him to become turnover bound at the next level. He only averaged 1 turnover a game at Villanova this past season, but it definitely could become an issue in the NBA. Omari Spellman needs to continue to improve his basketball conditioning, and needs to overcome being undersized for his position, needs to address his defensive questions, and could benefit from becoming a better decision maker and less turnover bound.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: Jared Sullinger
Omari Spellman is most comparable to Jared Sullinger. Both players have had conditioning/weight issues, can space the floor, and are tremendous rebounders. Jared Sullinger unfortunately is now out of the NBA due to several back and foot injuries that kept him off of the court despite a promising first few seasons for the Boston Celtics – where he was selected with the 21st pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Omari Spellman is less experienced than Jared Sullinger coming into the draft, but is arguably much more athletic and a more proven outside shooter. This is as good of a comparison as it probably gets.
Omari Spellman was a major contributor as a freshman for Villanova’s national championship season this past year. Spellman has a rare shooting ability and touch inside for someone of his size and play style. Spellman is projected to go anywhere in the 20-40 range, and where he ends up will largely depend on his fit on a particular team. Omari Spellman is a bit underrated in my opinion, and could prove to be a steal if he slides into the second-round. Let’s hope that he can prove to be a healthy version of Jared Sullinger at the next level.
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