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A Post-Deadline Look at the Big East: Villanova Wildcats

Villanova started the season only losing one game between November 12th and January 16th. Unfortunately they lost six straight games to end the season. They finished tenth in the Big East with a 9-9 record  and ended the season with a 21-12 record. The worst defeat was getting upset in the Big East Tournament by South Florida. They lost in the first (second) round of the NCAA Tournament. Now the most proven players from that team depart.

What's in store for the Wildcats?

Key Losses:

Graduating: Corey Fisher(15.6pts, 4.8asts, 2.8rbds), Corey Stokes(14.9pts, 3.3rbds), Antonio Pena(9.8pts, 7.1rbds)

Early Entry: None

Transferring: None

Key Returns:

Seniors: None

Juniors: Maalik Wayns(13.8pts, 4.5asts, 2.8rbds), Mouphtaou Yarou(8.4pts, 7.1rbds), Dominic Cheek(5.6pts, 3.4rbds), Maurice Sutton(2.4pts, 2.3rbds)(RS Junior), Isaiah Armwood(2.5pts, 3.6rbds)

Sophomores: James Bell(2.4pts, 1.3rbds)

Red Shirt Freshman: Jayvaughn Pinkston( Did not play last year due suspension form school due to legal troubles)

Incoming Recruits:

Tyrone Johnson 6'3" PG #56 Scout #52 Rivals #65 ESPN

Achraf Yacoubou 6'3" SG NR Scout #126 Rivals NR ESPN

Markus Kennedy 6'9" C NR Post Grad

Darrun Hilliard 6'5" SG NR

The Wildcats lose three seniors. These three seniors were the best three players on the team. They lose their top two scorers in the two Coreys and their fourth leading scorer in Pena who led the team in rebounds. Fisher led the team in assists and Stokes was their only consistent three point threat.

Villanova loses:

  • 53.2 percent of their scoring
  • 34.5 percent of their rebounding
  • 54.7 percent of their assists
  • 52.4 percent of their steals
  • 24 percent of their blocks

Still Villanova returns plenty of building blocks. Maalik Wayns is a dynamic scoring guard and Yarou is a solid big man. The other returning players provide quality depth. Sutton and Armwood will provide depth in the post. Bell and Sutton provide depth in the back court. Nova will also get back Pinkston who was suspended last season due to an assault charge. He's unlikely to face serious consequences from the charge and should suit up for the wildcats next season.

Villanova has some good pieces but could use some freshman contributions.

  • Tyrone Johnson: Is a physically gifted point guard with quality size and speed. He lacks a consistent perimeter shot. Should be a major contributor on this team. Not the purest of points but just as much of a point as Wayns and could start beside Wayns, but will most likely replace him off the bench. I also saw him at the Capital Classic. He's going to be a good player and it's a shame Georgetown missed out on him.
  • Achraf Yacoubou: Another player who was at the Capital Classic. He's  athletic, tough, and a high energy player. He rebounds very well for a guard. He does not have a consistent shot and his ball handling is shaky. Very good glue guy, but there are several guards ahead of him on the roster currently.
  • Markus Kennedy: A gifted post scorer and quality passer for a big man. His major issue is his conditioning. He's over weight and out of shape. As a result he's limited in the amount of time he can play and limited defensively and rebounding.
  • Darrun Hilliard: An athletic  prospect. Settles for long jumpers too often and cannot consistently hit them. An unheralded prospect, not much is expected form him.

Villanova has had a rough two seasons. It's looking like it will be three in a row for the Wildcats, but this one could be even worse. Every think hinges on the development of this rising junior class. They are the team. Wayns and Yarou are going to have to dominate in order for Villanova to be good. I don't think Yarou especially is up to that task. I see Nova as being a team of role players. Villanova looks to finish between 8th and 12th in the Big East next year barring a surprising development.