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Knicks Bulletin: Villanova trio on dream partnership, Thibs on DiVo’s craft

Straight Outta Sources.

La Salle v Villanova Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

New York Knicks basketball went on hiatus for a day at the end of the historic month of January 2024 but the boys will be back doing it to kick February off at the Garden hosting Obi Toppin and his Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Without a practice on Wednesday following back-to-back games earlier this week and just a shootaround scheduled for Thursday before tip-off, we still fought our way toward finding some golden nuggets shared by coach Thibs and the trio of ‘Nova Knicks in the past few hours.

Here’s what they had to share, as always straight outta sources.

Tom Thibodeau

On Donte DiVincenzo’s commitment to training and honing his skill set last offseason...

“The thing that impressed me was as soon as we signed him, he was coming in every day and putting a lot of time into his shot. So I felt like it was really smart for him to do that (considering his current role as a high-volume-shooting starter).”

“[DiVincenzo] puts the work in. He worked hard all summer to make sure he was ready for the start of the season. And it sets everything up for him. If they start flying at him, he can put it on the floor. I thought he had good activity defensively as well and he’s good on the open floor. So there’s no hesitation.”

“He’s been with a lot of different teams, so I think feeling good about the way you’re shooting the ball is important, and then some of the teammates that he’s played with before, so I think that helped.”

On DiVincenzo’s improvement as the season has advanced while taking on a larger role...

“I wasn’t around him when he was with other teams, but if you look at the way he’s trended throughout his career, he usually starts OK and then he builds as the season goes along.”

“He hit the ground running, and the thing I love about him—he doesn’t hesitate. So if he’s open, he just lets it go, and he’s been shooting the ball great, and obviously that opens up the floor.”

“The thing I like about it—all the 50–50 decisions—he doesn’t hesitate. Very confident.”

Donte DiVincenzo

On his training routine last offseason and staying level-headed...

“I was just going in every day and taking shots—you gotta ask them the numbers. I don’t even know. I’m just in there for hours on end, shooting and having a good time and playing music. I kind of get lost in the gym. That’s where I like to be.”

”The offseason is where you put in all the work. But staying consistent throughout the year, good game, bad game, doesn’t matter. Come back in and get in the work.”

On his late scoring explosion of late with both Julius Randle and OG Anunoby out...

“I’m just catching and shooting. I’m taking open shots. You know there’s a big hole and a void with two of our main guys out. Just playing collectively together and just catching and shooting and being aggressive.”

On keeping up the unconscious shooting volume no matter the outcome...

“For sure, I have confidence in my shot regardless. I don’t know what I shot, I don’t care what I shot, because the guys on the court, the coaching staff, believe it’s a good shot.”

“Go back and watch the film, learn. How do I get better looks [and] how do I turn down the good ones to get a great one? But honestly, if I catch and shoot and it’s open, I’m going to take it.”

Jalen Brunson

On Donte DiVincenzo’s transition from Villanova to the NBA and his steady improvement...

“His work I think has been consistent. It gets better and better every single year. Now that he’s growing as a player—and then, just the way... the confidence he has no matter what the situation is, comes from his work ethic.”

On growing along with DDV and Josh Hart in Villanova and now in New York...

“Seeing that is special and like I said before, it was really cool seeing guys used to work with almost eight or seven years ago, whatever it was, and seeing where we are now is pretty cool.”

On having the chance of starting games in the NBA as part of a lineup featuring three former Villanova teammates...

“Yeah, it is (significant and rare). I’m not gonna lie. Every now and then I’ll think about all of us, like, back at school, competing in practice, getting after it, having little mini-fights back then... And then to see where we are now, it’s really special.”

“It’s really cool to see. You don’t really see it too often, if ever. To hear the starting lineup saying ‘from Villanova, from Villanova, from Villanova,’ that’s pretty cool.”

Josh Hart

On playing in the NBA with three teammates from college...

“It’s cool, man. It’s dope. It’s obviously something that we never thought about. Obviously, we were in countless lineups together at Nova, but to have something like that, guys that you shared the court with for I don’t know how many games in college, and just seeing the progression individually, it’s really cool to see.”

“I think the first time that we did it was the first D.C. game in D.C., and it’s funny cause the announcer was like, ‘and also from Villanova.’ So it was just cool, but it’s definitely dope.”