Ty Johnson and Ryan Arcidiacono both dealt with injuries last summer that had a lasting effect on their 2011-12 season. Johnson's foot injury held him out of summer workouts and pre-Eurotrip practices, slowing his development as a freshman. Archy had back surgery that forced him to miss out on his entire senior HS season.
According to articles out this week, both have a chance to break out and have an impact for the Wildcats next season.
Jon Rothstein of CBS included Johnson on his list of ten likely "breakout" players for the 2012-13 season:
With both Maalik Wayns and Dominic Cheek opting to bypass their senior seasons and enter the NBA Draft, Johnson is now Jay Wright’s primary ball handler. The 6-foot-3 sophomore possesses good size, solid instincts, and showed major promise during a stretch in the middle of the season when Wayns’ was injured. Look for Johnson to be one of the Big East’s most improved players as he attempts to lead Villanova back into the postseason picture.
Rothstein's assumption that Johnson will be a primary ball handler this season is at odds with the probability that Wake Forest transfer Tony Chennault will likely at least share those duties in the coming season — if his hardship waiver is granted. Johnson will also see competition from Arcidiacono, who is himself a talented point guard and possibly the biggest fish in 'Nova's 2012 recruiting class.
That doesn't mean that Johnson won't play in 2012-13 or that he would necessarily come off of the bench. He might, but so might the other two point guards. Johnson could be moved to shooting guard, either temporarily or permanently, because of it. Even a shooting guard for Jay Wright will ideally be able to play like a point guard.
Though Johnson's role is in question, his development as a scorer and defender will be vital to the Wildcats.
Jay Wright is probably going to put Archy on the floor for plenty of minutes as a freshman, even if he doesn't start him — though that possibility isn't unlikely either. In addition to being able to handle the ball and play point, he brings a skill to the table that Villanova had been missing in last season's abysmal showing: shooting with range.
In a recent interview with Slam Online, he said that he expects to perform well shooting:
Hopefully I shoot really well—38 percent, 40 percent from three and maybe in like the 80s at the free throw line. I’m just hoping to lead the team. Whether it’s Tyrone Johnson or me or anyone else bringing the ball up the court, hopefully I can just get my teammates involved. I’m not really worried about what I shoot—I’m just hoping to get everybody involved.
Arcidiacono may get others involved, but even if Wright asks him to contribute off-the-ball, he will be the best shooter on the team. That means that even after the ball has left his hands, he will need his teammates to give it back to him when he is open for an outside shot. Daniel Ochefu and Markus Kennedy came to Villanova will a reputation as big men who can also pass the rock, and either of them could be helpful to make Arcidiacono more effective, but he will also need Ty Johnson and Tony Chennault to keep him in mind when they control the ball.
Early next month, Arcidiacono will head to the Team USA under-18 camp with hopes of making the roster for an international tournament in Brazil this summer. If he makes the team, he will come to campus in July and join the offseason program at that time. If he is cut, he will move to Villanova's campus in June, during the first summer session.
"I’m planning on making the team, but if for some reason I do get cut at least I have a scholarship to go play at Villanova," he told Slam. "It’s kind of a win-win situation but you’d always like to make the team."
Fans, media and coaches all seem to have great expectations for both Ty Johnson and Ryan Arcidiacono next season. With that in mind, if Johnson doesn't become the player that Jay Wright believes he will be, or if Arcidiacono struggles to acclimate to the college game, it could spell trouble for the Wildcats. Then again, with both breaking out next season, Villanova could have a quick turnaround after a terrible season.