Who is Donte DiVincenzo? 'The Michael Jordan of Delaware,' that's who

Donte DiVincenzo has two popular nicknames. One is “Big Ragu.” The other is “The MichaelJordan of Delaware.” And after his performance for Villanova in the national championship game on Monday night, both nicknames are as apt as ever.

The first is a reference to his red hair. The second, though, is the one DiVincenzo validated with 31 points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks to lead Villanova to a 79-62 victory over Michigan, and to a second national title in three years. (It also earned him the NCAA tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.)

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He had 18 points in the first half, and brought Villanova back from an early 21-14 deficit to a 37-28 halftime lead.

He continued to star in the second half on both ends of the floor. He met Michigan’s Charles Matthews at the summit and stifled him at the rim.

DiVincenzo’s fifth 3-pointer of the night put the Wildcats up 62-44. And in true Michael Jordan of Delaware fashion, he topped it off with a wink!

Oh, and he did it all off the bench. So who is Villanova’s sixth man extraordinaire?

DiVincenzo is a starter coming off the bench

He’s often referred to as Nova’s sixth starter. He played more minutes this year than three of Villanova’s actual starters on Monday night, and started 10 games himself while teammates were battling injuries. He averaged 13 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 29.1 minutes per game, and was named the Big East Sixth Man of the Year.

DiVincenzo turned around Monday’s game with his 3-point shooting, and that’s one of his primary talents. He shot 39 percent from beyond the arc on over 200 attempts. But his offensive skill set is comprehensive. He can attack off the dribble. He’s an above-the-rim finisher in transition

Announcers love to refer to his athleticism and explosiveness as “deceiving” – you can probably guess why – but there’s nothing deceiving about it. He’s been dunking on opponents ever since he took the floor for the Wildcats two years ago.

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Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) motions to the fans after cutting the net in celebration of their victory over the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) shoots against Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Schwaberow/Pool Photo via USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (left) holds the national championship trophy with Jalen Brunson (right) after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats head coach Jay Wright embraces guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) celebrates with Jalen Brunson (1) after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 79-62 in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) shoots a three-point shot over Michigan Wolverines guard Zavier Simpson (3) during the second half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) is defended by Michigan Wolverines forward Isaiah Livers (4) in the second half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) blocks the shot of Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) during the second half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) lays the ball up past Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) during the second half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) lays the ball up past Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) during the second half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2018; San Antonio, TX, USA; Villanova Wildcats guard Donte DiVincenzo (10) dunks the ball against Michigan Wolverines guard Charles Matthews (1) during the first half in the championship game of the 2018 men's Final Four at Alamodome. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats speaks to the media in the locker room after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats drives to the basket against Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with the trophy after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats cuts the net after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 and Matt Kennedy #35 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 and Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate with the trophy after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats is given the national championship trophy after defeating the Michigan Wolverines in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with the trophy after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats holds the trophy while celebrating with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats holds the trophy while celebrating with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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DiVincenzo is a sophomore – a redshirt sophomore

Jay Wright didn’t plan to redshirt DiVincenzo when the three-star recruit arrived at Villanova. The 6-foot-5 combo guard played 18, 9, 19 and 11 minutes in the first four games of the 2015-16 season. He appeared in eight games in all, but fractured the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot.

The injury was diagnosed in time for DiVincenzo to medically redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility. The Wildcats went on to win the national title without him. Then, in his second freshman season, DiVincenzo averaged 8.8 points in 25.5 minutes per game. He had his moments, but was mostly a tertiary option off the bench on the Villanova team that won a fourth consecutive Big East title.

“He was a true star in high school and it’s hard for a star to learn how to play off the bench and be really effective,” Wright told philly.com of DiVincenzo last season. “I don’t think he’d ever been on the bench in his life.”

He improved in almost all areas this year as a sophomore.

He really was the MichaelJordan of Delaware high school hoops

DiVincenzo was born in Newark, and played at Salesianum High School in Wilmington. He won back-to-back Delaware state tournament titles, and was the state’s boys basketball player of the year as a senior in 2015.

DiVincenzo wasn’t even a top-100 recruit coming out of Delaware, but garnered offers from Villanova, Syracuse, Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Vanderbilt, among others. He committed to Villanova over Syracuse during January of his junior year.

And on Monday night, every single Villanova fan was grateful that he did.

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NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
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NCAA championship: No. 1 Villanova vs. No. 3 Michigan
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a free throw against the Michigan Wolverines in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Mikal Bridges #25 reacts with Eric Paschall #4 of the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats and Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines compete for a rebound in the second half during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Collin Gillespie #2 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats react in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats bench reacts in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats reacts with his teammates during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Eric Paschall #4 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate in the second half against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines shoots a free thros against the Villanova Wildcats during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 and Omari Spellman #14 of the Villanova Wildcats battles for the ball with Moritz Wagner #13 of the Michigan Wolverines in the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Matt Marriott/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts during the second half of the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with teammates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Charles Matthews #1 of the Michigan Wolverines reacts on the bench late in the second half against the Villanova Wildcats during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats attempts a shot against Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman #12 of the Michigan Wolverines during the first half in the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. The Villanova Wildcats defeated the Michigan Wolverines 79-62. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Head coach John Beilein and Duncan Robinson #22 of the Michigan Wolverines hug after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Villanova Wildcats at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Chris Steppig/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: The Villanova Wildcats celebrate on stage after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates with the trophyafter the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Brett Wilhelm/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrates after the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game against the Michigan Wolverines at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 02: Donte DiVincenzo #10 and Jalen Brunson #1 of the Villanova Wildcats celebrate after defeating the Michigan Wolverines during the 2018 NCAA Men's Final Four National Championship game at the Alamodome on April 2, 2018 in San Antonio, Texas. Villanova defeated Michigan 79-62. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
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Henry Bushnell covers soccer and basketball for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at henrydbushnell@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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