The big news this week was obviously the impending transfer of junior captain Isaiah Armwoodd - which we'll be breaking down more early next week. However, inspired by Brian Ewart's post at VUHoops, we're looking immediately to 'Nova's future.
As you can judge by the title of this post, I believe that freshman Markus Kennedy and redshirt freshman JayVaughn Pinkston are going to benefit the most from Armwood's departure. Although in reality, ALL the player benefit because 15-20 minutes a game were just removed from the rotation, and those minutes aren't going to all go to just 1 player, or even 2. Everyone will get a bump.
Brian believes that JVP will get the biggest boost - and I do agree with him. Clearly, Pinkston is now in line to start and is probably looking at 25-30 minutes per game. And with his ability to play inside and out, that's the correct choice to aid Mouph on the block.
But I think he's underselling Markus, and after The Jump, I'll explain why.
Let's explore the part of Brian's post that I'm interested in:
If Jay isn’t happy with Pinkston’s ability to match-up with some of the bigger power forwards out there, he has two other options: he can use Maurice Sutton in that role as he did a few times last season, or he can turn to the freshman, Markus Kennedy. Both have their pro’s and con’s. Sutton is a tall shot-blocker who has made a few big plays in a career where he has otherwise struggled to handle bulkier players. Kennedy is a bulky center who is capable of playing power forward and is known for his passing ability in the post.
Kennedy will also back-up Yarou this season, and it is perhaps unlikely that he will do that and play significant minutes at the 4. We also don’t quite know how he will adjust to the speed of the game in the Big East, and we won’t get an answer to that until January.
So it appears, JayVaughn, that it is your time to shine.
My one sticking point to this - Kennedy and Pinkston have played the exact same amount of college games - 0.
And because Kennedy took a prep year, these guys are actually the same age. Physically, I think they're both very well equipped to deal with the battles of the Big East season. Kennedy actually may have shown that even moreso than Pinkston in Europe as he did very well by all accounts holding his own against grown men.
It's no secret that Jay Wright has gone with the 4-guard lineup (or at least, an undersized lineup) in recent years, and a player like Pinkston will fit perfectly into that as he can be effective both down low and on the perimeter (although his perimeter game definitely is a work in progress).
Kennedy however, has a known position. The man is a 4, and with his passing and rebounding ability, he should be a great compliment to Mouphtaou Yarou down low.
The one question that remains with Kennedy is whether he's in good enough shape to handle 20-25 minutes a game. As Brian suggests, we won't know until the season starts. But if you've been following Markus on Twitter, you'll know he's been working his ass off to get there.
I, for one, feel he's going to play a big role this season.