The Los Angeles Lakers found a gem in Josh Hart, and may now be mining Villanova yet again for the 2018 NBA Draft. Omari Spellman was among six college prospects invited to UCLA Health Training Center for a Lakers pre-draft workout.
Though they weren’t teammates at Villanova as Spellman just completed his freshman season, a trip to Los Angeles meant an opportunity to reconnect with Hart. “We went out to dinner but didn’t really talk about basketball,” Spellman said. “Just talking, man. He’s been my big brother before any of this stuff. So just catching up.”
When Hart did discuss matters on the court, his message to Spellman was simple and clear. “He just told me to do what I always do and just compete,” Spellman said. “He said, ‘If you compete, that’s your best shot at anything.'”
The Lakers put Spellman, Gary Trent Jr. and the other draft hopefuls through games of 2-on-2, 3-on-3 and shooting drills. “I think going against Trent, all those guys, it was a fun atmosphere for competing. We were all just trying to get each other better,” Spellman said.
A 47.6 percent shooter from the field and 43.3 percent from deep, Spellman wasn’t satisfied with his shooting performance, which drew a critique from Lakers brass. “They thought I settled for jumpers,” he explained. “They just felt I should’ve been a little more aggressive going towards the basket.”
In addition to spacing the floor, the 20-year-old is hoping to prove to be a defensive presence who is capable of filling a multitude or roles. When asked about his NBA comp, Spellman immediately pointed to Golden State Warriors do-it-all forward Draymond Green.
“How hard he competes, the way he can put it on the floor, the way he makes decisions, the way he defends, the way he rebounds, the way he’s there for his teammates,” Spellman said.
If he is drafted by the Lakers, Spellman and Hart may make for an exhausting if not entertaining duo of Villanova champions. Hart implored the Big East Freshman of the Year to, ‘Tell ’em we’re built different over there.’
Spellman described that as: “We’re built to compete. We’re built with a different type of mental toughness when things get hard. I think what he meant by that was how hard we compete, how hard we defend and how we play together.”
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