Cleveland Cavaliers superstar Lebron James said that the NCAA title game was a coronation of Donte DiVincenzo as the athletic guard led Villanova to the championship over Michigan on Monday.
“First of all, he made himself a lot of money,” James told reporters during the shootaround in the game against the Toronto Raptors. “That’s the first thing I thought. Obviously, I’m not with the whole college thing so I don’t care about that.”
The NCAA has been hounded with the pay-for-play scandal where some teams, in collusion with sports agents, have been throwing money and perks at top high school recruits to play for them. The scandal has already embarrassed the organization, particularly since the investigation is already headed by the FBI.
Former Villanova star Josh Hart, and now of the Los Angeles Lakers, wasn’t surprised by DiVincenzo’s performance since he was having fits in practice trying to guard him. The guard was supposed to play as Buddy Hield, the sweet-shooting Oklahoma guard who was tearing team defenses in college.
“He kicked our ass,” he said of DiVincenzo playing as Hield.
James praised the 6-5 guard for his advanced offensive skills, which would make him a top NBA prospect. DiVincenzo also showed that he was clutch.
“When the game started to kind of get (close) when Michigan cut it to 12, boom, he hits another backbreaker,” he said. “Michigan kind of gets it to 10, boom, he shows up again.”
But the four-time MVP also credited all the other players such as Eric Paschall, whom he likened to Paul Millsap, and Mikal Bridges. In the end, he said the best team won and that’s how it should be.
From averaging just 1.9 points in nine minutes in his freshman year, DiVincenzo has bumped his averages to 13.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists this year. But the title game is where players cement their reputation, and by exploding for 31 points, the 21-year-old indeed is making himself a lot of money.