With football Saturdays and news of Midnight Madness celebrations across the country last night, it's hard not to start getting excited about the months ahead.
A good week for 'Nova Nation began on the men's basketball recruiting front...
Hart in the Right Place … While the twins broke our hearts last week, Villanova landed its second top-100 player in the Class of 2013 this week, as Josh Hart joined Kris Jenkins picking Villanova as his new home. NBC Sports writes, "Hart and Jenkins aren’t flashy. Both are borderline top 100 recruits, which is a long way from the kind of talents that Villanova has landed in the past. But both players are program guys and winners, kids that Wright can mold in with the team he is building. It started with Ryan Arcidiacono and Daniel Ochefu in last year’s class. NBE Basketball writes, "According to Hart, the driving factor in choosing the Wildcats was a belief in Wright’s ability to "develop me into a man." At Villanova, expect Hart to play a shooting guard/small forward role, a point his father, Moses, stressed as central. That included promises to develop and play Josh, a 6’5″ athletic slasher/finisher, largely on the perimeter. Without that commitment, the Wildcats would not have landed his son, shared the elder Hart. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, "Asked about what talents he brings to the Wildcats, Hart replied that the strength of his game "is making everybody else better as player. It's about doing the things that the coaches want me to do. I might not hit the winning three, but I'm going to be the one that goes and gets a rebound when we need it and goes on the floor for a loose ball, anything to win." Hart's high school coach, Eric Singletary, said Hart "brings a high motor and an ever-improving skill set from the wing. He has a hunger to be good," the coach said. "I really think he's going to be a great player." ESPN writes, "He plays the game with a lot of vigor. His motor never seems to stop. Hart doesn't mind emptying the tank and he's not concerned how he gets it done."
Villanova at Old Dominion … Next up for the Wildcats is Old Dominion today at 3:30 PM in Norfolk, Va. Philly.com reports, “During last week's 28-17 loss to visiting Richmond, Villanova rushed for only 152, but will need more against ODU, and they must have time-consuming drives to keep the ODU offense off the field. That's why Villanova's Kevin Monangai (543 yards rushing, 5.8 average, 7 TDs) is so important. Villanova is second in the CAA with 17 sacks, but had none last week. The Wildcats must put pressure on ODU sophomore quarterback Taylor Heinicke, who has already thrown for 2,221 yards and 21 touchdowns. ODU is the most penalized team in the CAA, averaging 11.6 for 100.8 yards per game.”
Midnight Madness … Villanova.com reports “Villanova head coach Jay Wright and the Wildcats took the floor at the Pavilion just after 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 12 for the first official practice of the new season. "It's always exciting to start a new season," says Wright. "In our family, we treat each season as its own journey and we're ready to get this one started." Villanova’s Hoops Mania 2012 event will be held in two weeks after students return from fall break. NBC Sports reports that “Midnight Madness takes campuses across the country by storm. However, the first Midnight Madness began as a conditioning test for the University of Maryland men’s basketball team 41 years ago at Byrd Stadium Lefty Driesell had his players run a mile at midnight in under six minutes, as their first test of the season with the only light coming from cars parked around the track. As Villanova prepares for its Midnight Madness next week, other schools celebrated this time-honored tradition last night. NBC Sports reports, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo made a dramatic entrance dressing as billionaire, playboy, Tony Stark’s alter ego, IronMan. “ Syracuse’s Madness ended prematurely Friday night after a stabbing that took place inside the Carrier Dome that neither the victim or suspect is affiliated with the university.
Walker Texas Ranger … Associated Press reported“Chris Walker took over Thursday as Texas Tech's interim head basketball coach, replacing Billy Gillispie.”I'm very thankful that Texas Tech and Kirby Hocutt have given me this opportunity," Walker said a few hours after learning he was tapped for the post. "It means everything to me." Walker and athletic director Kirby Hocutt have a verbal agreement for a six-month contract as interim coach. Hocutt said details of the agreement would be available once a contract is signed.
Maalik Turning Heads … The Philadelphia Daily News reports “Maalik Wayns particularly stood out in the 76ers opening exhibition win over Orlando, notching six points, seven rebounds, six assists. "Maalik was terrific pushing the ball," Collins said. Delaware Online adds Maalik Wayns, passing and cutting his way through bona fide NBA players, looks as if he belongs. “He’s playing is like he’s supposed to be out here,” Holiday, the starting point guard, said. “My team needed me to [score] last year, and we weren’t very successful with me doing it,” Wayns said. “Now I can get back to my roots and play.”
You Indeed Can Go Home Again … Villanova invites us all to return to Villanova for Homecoming on Saturday, October 27th for the fabulous Homecoming Festival with food, drinks, games and entertainment. Cheer on Villanova football and enjoy special events that are scheduled throughout the week.”
Catholic League A Bad Idea … Big East Coast Bias writes “The new Atlantic 10 basketball contract with ESPN, NBC, and CBS and the relatively small amount of money each school will get shows once again that the Big East's basketball playing members are better off attached to football than on their own. The Big East basketball schools like Providence, Georgetown, St. John's, and Villanova, will never be better off, financially, on their own. Despite what is often claimed, those schools, were they to form their own conference and leave their association with the football-playing Big East schools would get only a fraction of the television money on their own compared to what they get by being in a conference with football playing members.”
Big East TV Negotiations … NBC Sports reports “The Big East is currently in an exclusive negotiating window with ESPN, who holds the conference’s rights, but Aresco says a deal is “not anywhere near done,” according to the Chicago Tribune. That window runs through October. After that point, the conference would be able to open up negotiations with other networks, many of whom have expressed interest, including NBC. “We need to do a good TV/media deal,” Aresco told the Tribune. “We need to do a deal that gives our schools the resources they need, that gives them the confidence financially, the stability they need. And also the exposure they need.
Georgetown Building Athletic Center … The Washington Post rreports “ Georgetown is moving closer to building a new-age, on-campus athletic center. According to the report, fundraising is now the only obstacle that remains. “I’m 100 percent certain it will happen in the very near future,” Thompson told the paper Friday. “A lot has changed. All the community, zoning and town issues and hurdles — we are past those. So now it’s just a question of getting the money and putting the shovel in the ground.” The $60 million plan calls for a 130,000 square foot facility, which would be built next to the aging McDonough Arena.”
What Was Jay Thinking? … Here’s a recap of Jay’s tweets “Had great time teaching Business Dynamics classes to Frosh in Villanova School of Business! … Great workout over the weekend - love the team's unselfishness! Good luck Maalik Wayns as you start 76ers camp today! Looking forward to being in NYC to honor Billy Raf with Coach Tom Pecora and NYC BBall family! RIP Bobby Dominick - you taught us how to love live and laugh hard! Great to kick it with Coach Chambers - once a wildcat, always a wildcat! Eddie Hastings was a Villanova sharpshooter in the 70's and is an even better educator and man now! Congrats to Villanova’s own Chris Walker – Nova Nation will be watching and pulling for you at Texas Tech! Very much looking forward to having ESPN’s newest college hoops star analyst Seth Greenberg with us Saturday for our Coaches Clinic! Congrats to Tim Chambers and his family on his induction tonight into the Philadelphia Archdiocesan Hall of Fame! Fired up for the first official day of practice tomorrow – a new journey awaits!
What was Andy Thinking? Here’s a recap of Coach Tally’s tweets “Heading to ODU #3 in the country! CATS slowly clawing their way back to the top. Focus, execution and patience are the key. Walk thru at the stadium. Sat. Should be a great day for college football! CATS need to play a solid game vs. #3 NOVA football on the road!”