Donte DiVincenzo felt his entire life change on April 2 when he helped lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Scoring 31 points in the 79-62 win over Michigan with five three-point baskets in front of a national television audience and being named the most outstanding player of the Final Four will do that, especially among NBA scouts and executives.
"They'd watched a whole body of work throughout the season, but that game, it was just the stage of which it was on and the amount of pressure, the amount of attention on that stage," DiVincenzo said Tuesday by phone from Los Angeles after ending his Villanova career by announcing he was remaining in the NBA draft and hiring an agent.
"They were kind of blown away with how I performed on that stage, so that just opened more eyes. It raised more questions. So once I went to the [NBA] combine, I think I answered a bunch of questions that they were raising and just gave them comfortability than just that one game."
The 6-foot-4 ½ DiVincenzo, of Wilmington, initially announced his decision on Instagram. He said he was considering it right up until Tuesday, when he informed coach Jay Wright.
"We were gathering information until the very last possible second, honestly, going through everything to make a decision," he said. "We talked every day, but we talked yesterday and then talked again today. He asked me my decision and I made my decision and we just went from there."
DiVincenzo is considered a first-round draft pick in seven of the nine mock drafts surveyed Tuesday by the Inquirer and Daily News. His highest projection is the No. 18 pick, held by the San Antonio Spurs, in a mock draft by CBSSports.com.
The 21-year-old DiVincenzo said he had been hearing "good information" about being selected in the first round, but he knows a lot can happen between now and the June 21 draft.
"Everything is subject to change, obviously, with the three weeks until the draft," he said. "But it's been mostly first round and good feedback, telling me what they think I need to work on and things like that. So I'm going into these workouts trying to just be myself and just trying to move up as high as possible."
DiVincenzo said he has worked out for five NBA teams. He said he has "five or six, maybe seven" workouts remaining beginning later this week in Portland.
The guard played for two seasons at Villanova after sitting out much of his freshman year with a broken bone in his foot and earning a redshirt. He averaged 13.4 points and 4.8 rebounds last season and won the Big East sixth man of the year award.
"Donte has handled this process intelligently and received very positive feedback from the NBA teams about his prospects in this year's draft," Wright said in a statement. "We fully support this decision and are excited about what the future holds for him at the next level. Donte is an outstanding young man and the 'Nova Nation will always take pride in his accomplishments."
The Wildcats now have three players — DiVincenzo, swingman Mikal Bridges and guard Jalen Brunson — in the NBA draft. Forward Omari Spellman, a redshirt freshman last season, will make his decision Wednesday, the deadline for returning to school.
DiVincenzo decided a day early. His goal is the same one he has always had since arriving at Villanova — "just trying to develop every single day, get better."
"So going forward, getting into an organization after the draft process, and just doing anything possible that is needed for the team," he said. "I think if I have that team mentality, then my individual growth will shine as it did in college."