Villanova Basketball: Draft lottery is a big win for Mikal Bridges and the Wildcats

(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

With its order now set, the 2018 NBA Draft looks like it’s going to be absolutely loaded with former Villanova Wildcats like Mikal Bridges.

Fresh off their second NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship in three years, the Villanova Wildcats look to be very well represented in the 2018 NBA Draft, especially after the Draft Lottery set its order on Tuesday, May 15th.

Highlighted by fourth-year junior Mikal Bridges, the player the entire City of Brotherly Love would like to see go 10th overall to the Philadelphia 76ers, seemingly the entire Wildcats’ starting five could hear their names called at some point on Thursday, June 21st at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

So if a team is looking to add a former Wildcat to their roster, there will be ample opportunities to do so.

Whether that be Bridges, a consensus lottery pick who is being taken anywhere from 9-12 by most mock drafts, or players like Donte DiVincenzo, the team’s championship game hero, and Jalen Brunson, the 2018 National College Player of the Year, who could hear their names called anywhere from the bottom the first round to the middle of the second, as many as four former Wildcats could be on their way to the NBA in a little over a month.

That is, unless some players return to school.

According to a new rule passed in 2016, the NCAA now allows players to remove their names from consideration as late as 10 days after the NBA Draft Combine, and return to school with their eligibility intact baring that they didn’t sign with an agent.

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While this rule won’t effect Brunson and Bridges, as they have both already graduated and signed with agents, even with a year of eligibility left, DiVincenzo and freshman big man Omari Spellman are currently unrepresented, and may decide to return to the Main Line for another year of seasoning from Jay Wright and the Wildcats’ world class player development staff if they aren’t guaranteed to go in the first round by May 30th.

But regardless of who stays and who goes, this is going to be a huge year for the Wildcats.

After failing to have a single player drafted in the lottery since shooting guard Randy Foye all the way back in 2006, Villanova could have as more players selected in the 2018 NBA Draft (four) than they have had in the last decade (three).

Talk about a serious recruiting tool.

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One knock the other ‘elite’ programs of college basketball have long been able to hold over Villanova’s collective head is their ability to get players drafted high, with programs like Kentucky, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina frequently landing their players in the lottery, but if Nova can finally take the next step in taking hungry, team-first players willing to spend three, four and sometimes five years in college and get them drafted into the NBA, it will only make Villanova an even more enticing option for top high school talent moving forward.