Cats to Host 2013 NCAA College Cup … Villanova’s Mike Sheridan issued a press release this week stating, "Villanova University and PPL Park will serve as the hosts for the 2013 NCAA Division I men’s soccer championship on December 13 - 15."PPL Park is the finest soccer facility of its kind in the nation and together we have forged a partnership with the leadership of the Philadelphia Union and the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau that will allow us to create a first class experience for the fans attending this outstanding event."
Ochefu and Arcidiacono playing for a Good Cause … John Verlin of Philahoops reports that incoming Villanova freshmen, "Daniel Ochefu and Ryan Arcidiacono, will be suiting up for the Blue Seniors in the 2nd-Annual Mary Kline Classic this afternoon at the Pennington School in Pennington, New Jersey. The event, which benefits brain tumor research, was organized by Alex Kline to honor of his mother, who died of a brain tumor seven years ago. It features two all-star games–one for seniors and one for underclassmen–as well as a slam dunk contest, 3-point contest, and a skills contest."
Ochefu Coup ... BleacherReport’s Thad Novak lists Villanova signee, Daniel Ochefu at #6 in its list of the Ten Biggest Signing Coups of the Year, saying "Few teams have built up as much negative momentum in the last couple of years as Villanova. The Wildcats closed 2010-11 on a six-game losing skid, then saw Corey Fisher’s graduation gut their offense and leave them at a woeful 13-19 last season. Fortunately for Jay Wright, that unpleasant recent history didn’t scare off 6’10" center Daniel Ochefu. Rivals.com’s 42nd-ranked player in the country could have stayed home just as easily at one of Villanova’s Big Five competitors, but his decision to sign with the Wildcats will bring a combination of size and shooting touch to a team that’s rarely had both in one package."
Mouph Working On Footwork ... Mike Sheridan, wrote a feature this week's Nova Notebook on rising senior center Mouphtaou Yarou. He writes, "[Mouph] was Villanova's most decorated interior signee since Jason Fraser in 2002. [However,] the learning curve for interior athletes is steeper than for those on the perimeter. There is an adjustment to the physical nature of the game, double-teams, not to mention the nimble footwork needed to operate near the basket. And that is true of athletes who had spent their whole lives playing the game, a luxury Yarou did not enjoy. Yarou is the only returning captain for 2012-13 and will lean on fellow upperclassmen Maurice Sutton and James Bell for assistance in that area. One element that should aid Villanova is the frontcourt synergy between Sutton and Yarou. The 6-11 Sutton's insertion into the starting lineup in February coincided with Yarou's most consistent offensive production. At the offensive end, Sutton's presence allows Yarou to face the basket as a power forward, where he is comfortable draining 12-15 foot jumpers. Yarou plans to spend the summer largely in or near the Davis Center, honing the footwork and individual skills that are part and parcel of playing effectively around the basket."
Chennault Next to Text "Yes" to Jay? ... CBS’s Jeff Goodman reports "Word is that Wake Forest guard Tony Chennault will likely land back home at Villanova."
Any Day Now ... Bruce Adams of Main Line Media News reports that Villanova is still in the mix for Amile Jefferson. He writes, "When will Amile Jefferson announce his college selection? I'll probably pick a date [to announce my decision] soon." Jefferson’s top three college choices are considered to be Kentucky, North Carolina State and Duke [but] Villanova and Ohio State also [are] possible choices. During a recent interview with ESPN’s Dave Telep Jefferson said, part of him would like to stay home in Philadelphia and play at Villanova, where his family would be nearby. He said another part of him wants to go far away, so he can grow on his own. "One day it’s one," Jefferson told ESPN.com, and "one day it’s the other."
Cats Among Biggest Losers … NBC Sports’ Raphielle Johnson lists Villanova among the five teams expected to be most negatively impacted next season by players opting for the NBA draft, writing, "2011-12 wasn’t exactly a banner season for the Wildcats, but having a year of experience under their belts as "the guys" would have benefited both Dominic Cheek and Maalik Wayns. Alas both had a desire to help out their families financially, and they decided to go pro instead. "[Their departure] puts more on the shoulders of James Bell, Darrun Hilliard and Ty Johnson to produce in 2012-13, and the same goes for sophomore forward JayVaughn Pinkston." [Editor’s Note: Duh]
Overdue for a Visit to the Rose Garden … While Friday’s visit by the national champion Kentucky Wildcats to the White House to meet President Obama made the headlines, we prefer to remember a visit by another Wildcat team some 27 years ago!
Randy & Dante Update... Randy Foye Foundation announced the second annual "Regina's Run" will be held on Sunday, June 3rd. "The 5k run/walk in partnership with the Children's Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center honors of Randy's late mother, welcomes participants of all age and skill levels for the 5k and children's 1 mile fun run." The Clippers posted an extensive feature on Randy Foye’s life, foundation, and time with the Clippers. Randy’s LA Clippers are tied with Dante Cunningham’s Memphis Grizzles after two games in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Over the two games so far, Foye is averaging 4.5 PPG, 2.5 APG and 3 RPG over 23 MPG, while Cunningham is averaging 1.0 PPG and 2 RPG over 7.5 MPG. However, Dante is one up on Randy in game highlights. Update: in today's game 3, Randy led his Clippers to a one-point win, with 16 pts on 6-9 shooting including 4-5 from beyond the arc, 4 rebounds, 3 turnovers, and one steal. Dante did not score nor grab a rebound in five minutes of play for the Grizzlies. The Clippers are now up 2-1.
No Six-Peat for Abro ... Rob Dauster of NBC Sports reports that "the NCAA has denied Notre Dame’s Tim Abromaitis a sixth-year of eligibility. Abro is the posterboy for the NCAA’s "student-athlete" ideal. There are few players in the country that are better students than Abro. He completed his undergraduate degree in three years. He finished a Master’s degree by the end of his fourth season and took graduate-level courses for fun during his fifth-season in South Bend. Of the five years that he spent in college, one resulted in playing in two exhibition games and another saw him take part in two total games. Not granting him a sixth-year doesn’t make any sense."
'Cuse Hates Cats ... Bleacher Report lists Villanova at #5 among Syracuse’s Ten Most Hated Basketball Rivals, behind #1 Georgetown, writing, "Anytime you get beat by a team whose coach takes more time in front of his wardrobe than he does in front of his whiteboard, it stings. The Villanova Wildcats have become one of the Orange's feistiest opponents. The Orange are always playing for something, and the Wildcats are the ones standing in the way."
FriarFanatic'13's Revenge ... Rob Dauster of NBC Sports reports that Providence Coach Ed Cooley "continued his impressive recruiting run at Providence on Tuesday afternoon. With top 20 recruits Ricardo Ledo and Kris Dunn ready to enroll in the fall and Arizona transfer Sidiki Johnson already primed to join the Friars next season, Cooley has now brought in Wake Forest transfer Carson Desrosiers. Desrosiers is a 6-foot-11 center with a nice touch from the perimeter. He started 38 games in two seasons with the Demon Deacons, averaging 4.4 points and 3.7 boards. Desrosiers will have to sit out the 2012-2013 season, but he will have two years left once he gets eligible."
Guard U II? .... Kevin Duffy of the Connecticut Post writes "The Big East has long been synonymous with a grind-it-out brand of basketball that is predicated on rough play in the paint. The elite teams usually share a common trait: They can bang on the low block and alter shots around the rim. "That's the way Connecticut has been for years," Villanova coach Jay Wright said by phone Tuesday afternoon. "When you go against them, you know they've got guys in there that can really rebound and change shots." But UConn's winning formula -- it led the nation in blocks from 2001-09 -- is certain to undergo a make-over next season. There is no Andre Drummond or Hasheem Thabeet or Alex Oriakhi on the roster. This team -- whether it's led by Jim Calhoun, Kevin Ollie or someone else -- must tap into Wright's blueprint: Three- and four-guard lineups will likely dictate UConn's success."