The rickety stands. The sea of navy blue. The beer. The band, the cheerleaders, the seemingly decorative security guards in bright yellow. The banners. The history. The V. Nova Nation.
Villanova basketball is back on November 9th. Our beloved basketball team means so much to so many people, I won’t pretend to understand all of it. I’m just a regular junior with a little bit of basketball knowledge and a lot of pride in my school. I’d like to think I keep an ear to the ground—that I’m in tune with the rest of the student section. But hell, who knows. With this first entry, I’m embarking on a season-long pseudo-journalism adventure, loosely titled "View from the Student Section." But there’s nothing to view yet, all we have to hold ourselves over is questions. Questions left from last season’s disappointing ending, and other questions piled on from our drama-filled offseason.
What happened this offseason?
Tony Chennault and Dylan Ennis transferred in to join the team. Marcus Kennedy transferred out to SMU. Coach Doug Martin was hired, lied about his resume (we have workshops for that), and consequently fired. He opened up avenues for new recruits, and now we’re in the awkward phase of trying to continue those connections. Coach Chill filled the vacancy in the coaching staff. Lastly, Kris Jenkins committed as the first member of our 2013 recruiting class. And God saw that it was good (Genesis 1:12).
Can Mouph dunk?
You know what I’m talking about. Mouph has been way too soft. We’re still waiting for him to throw it down the way Cunningham used to – the type of dunk that electrifies the student section. He did develop a strong jump shot in the last offseason, but what we need now is a chip on his shoulder.
Will Maurice Sutton stay on his hot streak?
Mo-Mo ended last season on a tear, averaging 29 minutes in the last 7 games and providing excellent defense, altering almost every shot that came from the paint. His decision making has vastly improved—I don’t totally cringe when he gets the ball anymore. He might have gone from least favorite in 2011 to fan-favorite in 2012. And now, his experience helps him make the big play every now and then. If he can consistently contribute, Sutton will be a force to reckon with in the Big East.
Will JayVaughn fill the scoring void left by Maalik’s departure?
Maalik will certainly be missed this season, but JVP could take over as MVP. He’s proven that he’s physical enough to get to the rim, he just needs to finish (I blame the rim). His life will be made easier if someone else on the team keeps the defense honest; defenses will collapse on him if there’s no one to stick the kick-out jumper like Cheek should have done last year.
Freshman and Transfers? "Guard U"?
The basketball roster shows 7 new arrivals to the team this year. Chennault is expected to have an impact, and Arcidiacono and Ochefu are likely to see some decent minutes, but the other 5 are unknown variables. In fact, many of the returning players are variables too. Is Arch’s pass-first mentality the change needed to get the offense going? If so, where does Ty Johnson find his minutes? Will Hilliard find his comfort zone or blend in with the hardwood? And can we please pick one pronunciation of "Achraf Yacoubou?"
Will anything happen with the Pavillion?
The above picture was touted at an alumni event as a potential plan for making over the Pavillion. In a personal fantasy of mine where we could actually raise the $50-$80 million AND get Radnor’s approval to build this basketball shrine, life would be great. I probably wouldn’t even drink before the game (kidding, yes I would). The student section could get moved out of the insignificant nosebleeds, or at least expanded to somewhere on camera where we can show that college students go to this school, not old men -- if Game Day was able to notice after one game that our current student section’s size and placement isn’t conducive to intimidation or excitement, the administration in my basketball dream world certainly can. Furthermore, I would be able to buy my parents a ticket or two in this place, since our involvement with the infinitely-larger Wells Fargo Center is apparently decreasing.
Not the same as your view? Let me know in the comments. I'm just a basketball fan with Microsoft Word. As such, I'll see you in the stands.
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