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Villanova's top incoming recruit is ineligible, will take a redshirt

The defending champs won't have five-star freshman Omari Spellman this season.

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Villanova will be without freshman big man Omari Spellman when it begins its national title defense in November, the school has announced. Spellman has been ruled ineligible by the NCAA and will take an academic redshirt this season.

Spellman was Villanova's top incoming recruit, regarded as a five-star prospect and ranked No. 18 in the class of 2016 by ESPN. He was expected to add depth to a front court that lost graduating senior Daniel Ochefu.

At 6'9, 275 pounds, Spellman was considered one of the best interior scorers in his freshman class and a leading candidate for Big East Freshman of the Year. Villanova still has Kris Jenkins, Daryl Reynolds and Mikal Bridges in the front court. Bridges turned out just fine after taking a redshirt as a freshman in 2014-15.

Villanova coach Jay Wright tweeted this:

The Wildcats begin their title defense at Purdue at Nov. 11. Villanova has won at least 29 games each of the last three seasons.