How Donte DiVincenzo Villanova background prepares him for Golden State
By Shayna Rubin
SAN FRANCISCO — The Warriors have made it a point to get Villanova alums onto the roster of late.
In 2019, they traded for former Wildcat Omari Spellman and drafted Eric Paschall in the second round — both have since been traded away. But Donte DiVincenzo, who signed to a two-year, $9.3 million contract this offseason, is the next former Wildcat to play under Steve Kerr.
Villanova’s style that prioritizes passing, off-ball movement and cutting under coach Jay Wright draws parallels to the Warriors’ style with Kerr. So DiVincenzo’s first impressions as a Warrior feel “very similar” to his college ball days, he said.
“I always tell Coach Wright, I wouldn’t be in this position without him,” DiVincenzo said. “He laid the blueprint for us. Going into Milwaukee was very similar. And coming here, it’s something I’m comfortable with. It’s an environment I can thrive in and so I’m happy where I’m at.”
DiVincenzo joins the Warriors as a replacement, of sorts, for Gary Payton II. The 6-foot-4 guard defends guards and wings and is a shooting threat off the bench. The Warriors snagged him at a decent price after an injury-plagued 2021/22 season with the Milwaukee Bucks in which he struggled to regain his rhythm on a surgically-repaired ankle and was traded to the Sacramento Kings amid a lost season.
He finished the year with down numbers, shooting 34% from 3 and 35% from the field in 42 games with the Bucks and Kings. The year prior in 66 games, he shot 38% from three and 42% from the field.
But DiVincenzo’s track record precedes him. Pedigree matters. He won an NBA title with the Bucks in 2021 and two NCAA championships with Villanova. At 25, he has the developed basketball IQ seeped in that familiar style that makes him potentially a great fit for Golden State.
“Villanova guys are generally really advanced,” Kerr said. “Jay Wright did an amazing job with that program over the years and most of the Villanova guys were not one and done….So the development part has already happened. And that’s the big advantage. And then, of course, with Donte he’s played on a championship team with Milwaukee and he’s seen and competed in this game at the highest level, so we’re excited to have him on our team.”
Fellow Team USA coach Wright “raved” to Kerr about DiVincenzo.
DiVincenzo chose the Warriors over a handful of other teams expressed interest during the offseason. He signed during the Kevin Durant trade drama, one of the more hectic points of the offseason for other prospective free agents looking for a home. Then he got a few calls from Steph Curry and Draymond Green, who drew up a picture of what life in Golden State would be like — Curry talked about culture, Green “shot it straight to me,” DiVincenzo said in July at Summer League shortly after the contract had been inked.
“I was in a place where I wanted to get back to winning culture,” DiVincenzo said on Saturday. “The joy of playing simple, winning basketball. I think I thrive on that.”
Source: Paradise Post