James Bell arrived at Villanova as a highly touted recruit from Florida - one of the few players NOT from the Northeast in recent years. His reputation as a high-flying athlete excited Wildcat fans, and when he was sidelined with stress fractures in both shins, it appeared it may be a redshirt year for the freshman.
Bell recovered much more quickly than anyone could have imagined though, and is now providing Villanova with a much needed option off the bench. With the loss of JayVaugn Pinkston already being felt, Villanova needs Bell to pick up some of the dirty work, and that's exactly what he did on Sunday vs. Cincinnati.
While his 9 minutes weren't incredible, his 4 defensive rebounds certainly were, as they all came at crucial times, and against bigger, more experienced players. Earlier in the year Bell looked sluggish as he fought back from a serious injury. Those slow feet seem to have been replaced and his stamina has gotten much better as well, making him a viable option off the bench.
Bell's minutes haven't exactly been shooting up (averaging just over 5 minutes per game since 21 vs. Monmouth), but he proved himself a vital asset when we were up against it in foul trouble on Sunday, guarding both the Cincinnati backourt and frontcourt to good success at different points in the game.
The scoring duties appear pretty defined at this point in the season, so anything Bell can provide there is gravy. But if he can continue to play exceptional defense (as he did on Sunday), he'll find himself minutes for this team. Sunday was just one game, but I believe this trend will continue.