Welcome to our 2011 Villanova basketball season preview. We're going to be previewing a player per day from here on out - which will take us right up to the first exhibition game against New York Tech. Today, we preview incoming freshman Markus Kennedy.
Well traveled but homegrown Philly native Markus Kennedy comes into the 2011 season as a bit of an X-factor and an unknown. Originally scheduled to arrive last year, Kennedy, who played at 4 different schools, could be the perfect king of player for a team left in flux after the crash and burn of the 2010 season.
A skilled 6’9 250-ish pound wide-body who from all accounts can play with his back to the basket, Markus balled last season for perennial national championship contender Brewster Academy in Maine and early word is that he looks more polished and should contribute right away
Join me after The Jump for more on the big man.
Kennedy is walking into a good situation at 'Nova. With Antonio Pena gone, Mouphtaou Yarou is the only somewhat proven commodity the 'Cats sport with respect to frontcourt scoring. The book on Kennedy is that he slipped through the recruiting cracks with some suggesting that his fitness would always hamper his ability to contribute consistently at the D1 level.
Rated as a 4-star prospect by both Scout & ESPN (though Rivals put him as a 3-star), Kennedy really began his high school career at recent Villanova feeder St. Particks (Elizabeth, NJ) but after spending a year doing a 6 hour roundtrip commute everyday to get to school, he transferred closer to home at Living Faith Academy. Despite putting up big numbers and then playing a year at Brewster, Kennedy never really got the respect he deserved coming out of school.
As mentioned before, the biggest knock on Markus has always been his level of fitness and his ability to contribute effectively for long stretches. If he is in shape (and by all accounts, he's worked his ass off to do that) and can contribute at the defensive end of the court, look for MK to be a factor off the bench as a guy who can give you a sneaky 8/8 as as the secondary low-post threat to Yarou.
I fully expect JayVaughn Pinkston to settle in next to Yarou in the starting 5 (Editor's Note: Pinkston's preview is coming tomorrow) but as we saw last year when shooting went cold, this team can go through ugly stretches. A good way to counter these droughts is to have some legitimate post offense. The Main Line should be excited about the skill set and potential this guy brings to the table.
What are your thoughts and expectations for Markus Kennedy in his maiden campaign on at Villanova?
Editor's note: Kennedy is my favorite freshman. I've been following him on Twitter for what feels like an eternity and his work ethic and drive to succeed are going to make him insanely popular amongst the fans. He's a kid that EVERYONE said didn't have the drive to re-shape his body to a level where he can be successful. And he proved everyone wrong. Villanova's got a gem here. You're all going to love his game.
When we're back tomorrow, we'll take a look at redshirt freshman JayVaughn Pinkston.
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