The Villanova Wildcats will be without freshman forward Omari Spellman for the upcoming season as the NCAA has ruled him academically ineligible, according to ESPN staff writer Jeff Borzello.
Spellman, a 6-9 forward, will be sidelined for the 2016-2017 season but will have four years of eligibility remaining after he serves his year on the bench. Per the school’s eventual announcement, the NCAA determined that Spellman failed to complete his initial eligibility requirements in time.
He was a fifth-year high school senior last season.
“We are extremely disappointed for Omari,” Wildcats’ head coach Jay Wright said in a statement. “While we don’t agree with the NCAA’s decision, we are members of the association and respect it. We understand why the NCAA felt it had to rule this way.
“We will make a positive out of this for Omari. He will concentrate on his academics and individual development this season. In the long run, Omari will be a better student and player for this experience.”
The 2016 big man was rated as the No. 19 player in the class and No. 1 player in the state of Ohio out of high school, according to the 247 composite. The five-star Spellman had garnered 17 offers prior to settling on Villanova, which is coming off a National Championship victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Nonetheless, Wright’s frontcourt is still up to par with Darryl Reynolds, a senior who brings some veteran experience for the Wildcats while a pair of freshmen in the form of Dylan Painter and Tim Delaney are also expected to be in the mix.