Villanova landed a potential replacement for Donte DiVincenzo in case the national title game hero opts to remain in the NBA draft.
The reigning national champs received a commitment from a do-it-all graduate transfer who should help the Wildcats contend for a third title in four years.
Ex-Albany guard Joe Cremo announced Tuesday that he will transfer to Villanova. Cremo has one year of college eligibility remaining and will be able to play for the Wildcats right away next season.
Who is Joe Cremo?
A 6-foot-4 combo guard with an excellent outside shooting stroke and the ability to make plays for himself or his teammates, Cremo averaged 17.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for Albany last season and shot 46 percent from behind the arc. The first-team all-America East guard scored 18 points in a one-point loss to Louisville on Dec. 20 and tallied 16 points in a nine-point loss at Memphis on Dec. 12.
Cremo chose Villanova over a long list of suitors that included national powers Kansas, Arizona, Ohio State, Gonzaga and Louisville. Such widespread interest was eye-opening for a player who committed to Albany as a lightly recruited high school junior and never even played AAU basketball.
What does Cremo’s commitment mean for Villanova?
Villanova’s interest in Cremo does not necessarily mean that DiVincenzo will stay in the NBA draft. Cremo will be an asset to Villanova whether DiVincenzo opts to turn pro this spring or further elevate his stock by returning for his redshirt junior season.
If DiVincenzo turns pro, Cremo would likely slide into his spot in the starting five alongside heralded incoming freshman point guard Jahvon Quinerly and veteran Phil Booth. If DiVincenzo stays, Cremo would probably fill the role of fourth guard and would undoubtedly still play 25-plus minutes a night.
How good can Villanova be next season?
While national player of the year Jalen Brunson and projected lottery pick Mikal Bridges are definitely gone and fellow starters DiVincenzo and Omari Spellman have declared for the draft without hiring an agent, Villanova should still be formidable. The Wildcats are the likely preseason No. 1 if Spellman and DiVincenzo come back to school. They would still be the Big East favorite even if both leave.
Cremo is a good fit for Villanova no matter who stays and who goes. He’ll provide experience, outside shooting and playmaking for a program that has won 29 or more games each of the past five seasons.
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