This Villanova team begins 2010 without Scottie Reynolds. As a four-year starter, Reynolds has graduated, but Jay Wright is not concerned with how his Wildcats will replace the lost production of his All-American guard. Villanova is deep and returns experience that should help them compete at the top of the conference this season.
Coach Jay Wright is most famously known for his good fashion sense, but he has some strong recruits this year. Last year’s team went 24-7 and 13-5 in conference action. The expectations are high for this team, and Nova doesn’t want to disappoint.
Frontcourt: Former Duke transfer Taylor King is gone from the program, but Villanova does bring back big man Antonio Pena. Pena was solid on the interior last year putting up 10.5 ppg and 7.0 reb a contest. Pena spent two years at prep-school and then red-shirted. He’s actually 24 years old and takes the term leadership to another level. He will play with a trio of young players who the Wildcats will look to improve on as the year progresses.
Isaiah Armwood, Dominic Cheek, and Maurice Sutton all displayed glimpses of brilliance last season, but it was too inconsistent. I believe Sutton has the most upside as a shot-blocker and guy who can help lock down the paint. Cheek is a former All-American who Jay Wright has been working with incessantly to try and get him ready to crack the rotation.
The player people need to be paying attention to is Mouphtaou Yarou. Yarou had a breakout game against Robert Morris in which Villanova was almost upset. He has had health troubles in the past, but his performance this season will go far in determining where Villanova stands heading into March.
A freshman who should get plenty of minutes immediately is JayVaughn Pinkston a 6’7 forward out of New York. He is a hard worker who loves to hit the glass and work both inside and out.
This could be a deep frontcourt which is a switch to Coach Wright who has almost had three quality guards to rely on over the past five years.
Backcourt: As you can see, Villanova has a lot of questions in the frontcourt. The backcourt is potentially one of the best in the nation. They return Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes from last year’s squad.
It appears as if Fisher will be the one to operate the point, replacing Reynolds, but Stokes is definitely able of running the offense. Last season Fisher averaged just over 13.0 ppg and just fewer than 4 ast. Stokes averaged 9.5 pts and 4.0 reb and it is this Corey is recognized for knocking down the big three-pointers.
This Villanova team is going to be pretty quick on the break. Maalik Wayns is another Philadelphia point-guard who returns for his sophomore season and is looking like he could have a breakout year. He was an energizer off the bench and was a shutdown defender for Jay Wright. He made the conference rookie team last year, but his season included nights where he was either on or off. He needs to be more consistent. If Wayns can contribute night in and night out this team is going to be tough to beat.
Pick: Jay Wright has done one heck of a job at Villanova. He is able to recruit different players of all types of skill sets. That’s precisely why Villanova is perpetually in the top tier of Big East teams. This squad is going to be just as solid as last year’s squad if not better. Winning 24 games is never easy, but this is a dynamic Villanova team, unlike the ones we have watched in the past.
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