Saint-turned-Wildcat trades PIAA championship for NCAA

Neumann-Goretti grad Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree contributed to the Villanova Wildcats NCAA championship season

Photo provided by Villanova University

By Bill Gelman

Four minutes and one rebound.

Villanova University freshman forward Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree is likely not going to remember those numbers in his future seasons with the Wildcats.

However, just like during his time at Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School, he was part of another crowning moment in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday night, site of the Final Four. Villanova, the №1 seed in the East Region, defeated the University of Michigan in convincing fashion, 79–62. He is the first boys basketball player in Neumann-Goretti history to not only play in the Final Four, but win it all.

Following the win, Carl Arrigale, his high school basketball coach texted Cosby-Roundtree to say how happy and proud he was for him. While watching the “One Shining Moment” video package on TV after the game, the coach was excited to see the 6-foot-9 Cosby-Roundtree appear in it twice.

“It’s great. He deserves it,” the coach said of his former player. “He made a great choice picking Villanova.”

In terms of the Neumann-Goretti success story, which includes a current streak of five straight PIAA Class 3A state titles, the coach noted that it’s nice adding the national championship component to it. In terms of the Wildcats, Arrigale sees a bright future ahead.

“The way their program is built, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is back there before he is done,” Arrigale said of Cosby-Roundtree. “Villanova has the best program in the country.”

Prior to the start of the 2017–18 season, there were questions as to whether or not the rookie would contribute at all as he spent the preseason recovering from a stress fracture in his shin. He actually played through his senior year at Neumann-Goretti with the injury. Funny thing is, one would never be able to tell by the number he put up his senior year with the Saints — 15.9 points, 11.5 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game.

He had surgery in June, forcing him to miss summer practices.

Cosby-Roundtree eventually worked his way into the Wildcats rotation, averaging 11.5 minutes in 39 games this season. When the Wildcats needed some help off the bench in last week’s Elite 8 victory over Texas Tech, he answered the call with four points and seven rebounds in 12 minutes.

Arrigale is confident that Cosby-Roundtree, who also needed to add weight this season, will be an even better player going forward.

“He went from possibly being a redshirt to a contributor on a national championship team,” he said. “He is trending up because Villanova does a great job developing their talent.”

Arrigale saw it unfold first-hand when the forward arrived at the East Passyunk Crossing-based school as a freshman.

“He improved each year for us,” Arrigale said. “I am just so happy for Dhamir. He is one of the best kids to ever walk through [the Neumann-Goretti] doors.”

Following the game, he also got word on how the post-game celebration was going on the Main Line campus where his daughter Alexandria Arrigale is a freshman.

Before the talk of winning a third national championship in four seasons can begin, there is still some celebrating to be done. Philadelphia is hosting a championship parade tomorrow (April 5) at 11 a.m. The parade route will go from 20th and Market streets and end with a rally at Dilworth Plaza.