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 redshirt freshman JayVaughn Pinkston.
In a season where expectations are lower than usual, it's tough to predict how JayVaughn Pinkston's season will play out. The highly touted recruit out of Bishop Loughlin High School in Brooklyn is coming off a year in which he was suspended for a university code of conduct violation. To his credit, he kept his head down, worked hard throughout the year, and is now fully back with the team. He so easily could have gone somewhere else, and we're all grateful he stuck it out and genuinely wants to be a Wildcat.
While at Bishop, Pinkston averaged 25 points, 13 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 blocked shots per game. This led to a McDonald's All-American game selection. Like most new college players however, gaudy high school numbers rarely translate to instant-success at the next level, so Pinkston has a lot of prove this year on the court after missing all of last year.
More on JVP after The Jump.
An argument can be made that Pinkston is the X-factor for Villanova. Maalik Wayns is the go-to-guy, Mouphtaou Yarou is the stalwart int he paint, Dominic Cheek looks set to become a quiet leader, and James Bell represents a potential rising star, but if Pinkston can carve out a niche, the 'Cats may surprise a few people this year. With the transfer of Isaiah Armwood to George Washington, he is in line to play major minutes for 'Nova.
There's no doubt that JayVaughn has a Big East body, as he weighs in at 260 lbs. while standing around 6'6-6'7". With this size, he's going to need to be a complimentary presence down low to help out Yarou and fellow freshman Markus Kennedy. On the offensive end, Pinkston could develop into a matchup nightmare for opponents, where he can use his ball-skills to blow by a forward or back down a smaller guard.
For what's it's worth, I agreed with the University's decision to suspend Pinkston last year. Of course, the punishment was harsh, but an example had to be set. After a suspension like that, most star athletes would probably look elsewhere to continue their career, but give JVP credit for getting a job off-campus and sticking with it through perhaps the most difficult year of his life. Hopefully he has learned from the experience and is ready to make a big impact in his rookie campaign on the Main Line.
What are your thoughts and expectations of JayVaughn Pinkston during his inaugural season on the hardwood for the 'Cats?
When we're back on Monday, we'll check in on sophomore James Bell.
Previous player previews: