Battle 4 Atlantis ... Villanova.com writes, "The Villanova Wildcats will take part in the Battle 4 Atlantis this Thanksgiving in the Bahamas and members of the Nova Nation can now make plans to follow the Wildcats to Paradise Island. Joining the Wildcats are Iowa, Kansas, Tennessee, USC, Wake Forest, UTEP and Xavier. Villanova will play on three consecutive days beginning on Thanksgiving, Nov. 28. The event continues with contests on Friday, Nov. 29, and concludes on Saturday, Nov. 30. For information on travel packages and tickets, Wildcat fans can visit www.villanovasportstravel.com." [Editor's Note: Packages are offered at five hotels and start as low as $689.]
What Was Jay Thinking? .... Here's a few noteworthy tweets from Coach Jay Wright this week: "Congratulations to @waynethepres [Dwayne Anderson] on an outstanding professional career! Good luck in his new career as an assistant coach at Penn State!" (July 16) ... "After two good days of work on campus excited to begin Part 2 of our July Journey! #Villanova" (July 17) ... "Inspiring Dinner last night in gtown with VU BBall Alum and Nike Exec. George Raveling, a pioneer in our game!" (July 19) ... "Nike Global Challenge in DC - @NikeEYB - great event - class - innovative - staff is very supportive and professional! (July 19) ... "Dinner tonight with "a great Villanova Warrior" - Scotty Reynolds - looks like an ultimate fighter - stud!" (July 20).
And Then There Were Five .. VUHoops' Chris Lane writes, "2014 PG/SG Phil Booth has cut his list to a final 5 schools. As expected, Georgetown, Indiana and Villanova all made the cut, with Virginia and Temple also joining the list. Booth has previously said that he's not going to make a commitment until the fall, but it is believed to be a two-team race between Villanova and Indiana for his signature." Adam Zagoria adds this quote about Mr. Booth's feelings about Villanova: "Love the way Jay Wright helps produce guards, like the coaching staff." In an unrelated story, The Baltimore Sun reports, "Rising senior guard Phil Booth scored 11 points and added three assists as the USA East team routed France, 101-77, on Thursday in the first game of the Nike Global Challenge."
Gophers Make Ja'Quan their Top Target ... Amelia Rayno of Star Tribune Sports writes about Villanova target, "Ja'Quan Newton, a four-star PG ranked #41 in the nation by Rivals. Newton has confirmed that he is considering teaming up with five-star recruit Isaiah Whitehead in choosing a college and is one of the Minnesota Gophers' top targets for 2014. Coach Richard Pitino told me that I'm the guy he wants, I'm his No. 1 target and he wants me to come there and run the show. I'm going to cut my list of schools down to 5 after the July." Will Villanova be on that list? inRecruit thinks so, writing "Newton recently answered "Yes" to a direct question on social media as to whether he is still considering Villanova. Newton, a 6'3 point guard from Philadelphia, and Whitehead, a 6'4 shooting guard from Brooklyn, confirmed the might go as a package deal. So far Villanova has not been reported as interested in Whitehead. Fostered by Villanova's reputation for success with guard oriented lineups, it is believed that Newton would co-exist well in Jay Wright's system with current Villanova guard Ryan Arcidiacono."
Hoosiers Want Johnson ... Alex Bozich of Inside the Hall writes, "One of the fastest rising backcourt players in the country is a new recruiting target for Indiana. [Villanova target] Robert Johnson, a 6-foot-3, class of 2014 guard from Richmond was scouted heavily by the Hoosier staff at the Nike Peach Jam and received a scholarship offer over the weekend. The four-star guard averaged 20.2 points and shot 46.2 percent on 3-pointers at the Peach Jam. Up to this point, Johnson said five schools - Florida State, Villanova, Wake Forest, Virginia and Alabama - have recruited him most consistently, but he's hearing from several new suitors after his strong play at the Peach Jam. "Besides Indiana, I've heard from North Carolina, Syracuse, Memphis, Cincinnati and UCLA," he said.
Bentil a Force ... Jerry Meyer of 247Sports writes, "[Villanova target] Ben Bentil is a physical force as an athletic forward but is in the process of becoming more comfortable as a basketball player. Providence has joined Georgetown as the schools recruiting him the hardest. Bentil has already visited Georgetown and wants to visit the Hoyas again along with Providence and Miami. St. Joe's, Temple and Rutgers are also on his list." [Editor's Note: no mention of Villanova.]
Gridiron Cats on the Tube ...VUHoops' Brian Ewart reports, "The CAA football conference today announced the NBC Sports Network's five games selected to be featured on their national college football broadcasts and Villanova's October 12th meeting with Towson (7pm) will be one of them. Villanova will also be featured on ESPN News when they kick off the season against Boston College at noon on August 31."
QB Add ... VUHoops' Chris Lane reports, "Zach Bednarczyk, a 6'2" 185 lb. quarterback from DePaul Catholic High School in Wayne, NJ, verbally committed to play football for Andy Talley. Bednarczyk being labeled as a pass-first QB; if you cycle through his Bednarczyk's Hurdl highlights, you'll see he's more than adept at running the football - a strong indication that the read-option offense is here to stay at Villanova. Tally will likely redshirt Bednarczyk in 2014."
Pinckney A Candidate for 76ers' Head Coaching Job ... VUHoops' Brian Ewart reports former ‘Nova Great, "Ed Pinckney will head back to Philadelphia to interview with the 76ers for their head coach opening." InsideHoops.com adds, "Three years ago, the 76ers decided to bring back a beloved basketball figure to coach their basketball team in Doug Collins. Could they be going a similar route in interviewing Ed Pinckney as Collins' successor? Pinckney, of course, was the leader of the Villanova team that won the national championship in 1985. He is an assistant with the Chicago Bulls."
Wayns Injured; Will Win or Lose Job in Vegas ... Fred Katz of ClipperBlog writes, "Maalik Wayns has no guaranteed contract, though he does stand a legitimate chance to make the Clippers' roster, one that has point guards Chris Paul and Darren Collison without a clear second backup ball handler. Wayns might be that guy. He might not. And we're finding out in Las Vegas just where he stands. The problem for Wayns is that he has gotten competition from his diminutive counterpart. Randle is playing well - really well - in his 19.8 minutes per game off the bench. But Wayns does have one inherent advantage over Randle, who is listed at a dubious 5-foot-10: a four-inch advantage to be specific." Unfortunately, RotoWorld reported yesterday that "Wayns didn't play in Friday's summer league game due to a strained right hip flexor. The injury shouldn't linger long enough to affect Wayns' status with the clippers. His deal is unguaranteed for 2013-14, but he could stick as a third string PG behind Chris Paul and Darren Collison."
USC Looking to Ty to Lead ... Matt Connolly of GoUpstate.com wrote a feature on former 'Nova guard, Ty Johnson, now a redshirt sophomore at South Carolina. He writes, "Tyrone Johnson has yet to play a game at South Carolina, but the point guard is already considered a leader for the men's basketball team. Because he transferred in January, Johnson will not be eligible to play in games until December, something he admitted is frustrating. "I still want to come in every day and continue to work hard and be an extra coach on the court while Coach Martin is on the sidelines."
Anderson to Marry, then Join Chambers at PSU ... VUHoops.com MikeJ writes, "The initial notion was mentioned a month or so ago but confirmed today - class of '09 graduate Dwayne Anderson will be an assistant coach for Pat Chambers at Penn State." Penn State News adds "Patrick Chambers announced the appointment of Dwayne Anderson, a standout on Villanova's 2009 NCAA Final Four team, will take on his first collegiate coaching position after four highly successful seasons playing professionally in Europe. Anderson played his final professional season for S.Oliver Baskets in Wurzburg, Germany, the last of three stops in a four-year professional career that also saw him play for professional clubs BG Gottingen in Germany and Morpho Basket Piacenza in Italy. A two-time German All-Star selection (2011 & 2013), he posted 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in 2012-13 while leading S.Oliver Baskets in scoring, rebounding and steals to earn his second All-Star selection." David Jones of PennLive adds, ""I think that's why I'm coming aboard," said Anderson. "It's because I've been there, done that. Everything that these kids are about to experience, on the court, off the court, I think that's what I bring to the table." However, before he starts, on July 27 Anderson will marry his college sweetheart, Lindsay Davis, whom he met when both were Villanova students." [Editor's Note:Congratulations Dwayne and Lindsay. Anyone interested in sending Dwayne and Lindsey a wedding gift, click HERE for their wedding registry.]
Hail Szczur ... Knoxnews.com reports, "Eleven pitchers combined on a one-hitter Wednesday night as the South Division beat the North, 6-0, in front of 9,373 fans in the Southern League All-Star game in Jacksonville. [Former Villanova two-sport great and current] Tennessee Smokies outfielder Matt Szczur [started in center field and led off for the North, and went 0-for-2 from the plate." In some better news, the Press of Atlantic City reports, "Matt Szczur scored from first base on teammate Arismendy Alcantara's two out double in the 10th inning to give the Tennessee Smokies (Cuts) a 3-2 win over the Jacksonville Suns in the double-A Southern Leagues on Friday."
Villanova Crime Blotter ... Diane Herbst of the Montclair Times writes, "Superior Court Judge Peter Vasquez denied a motion made by lawyers for James Pitts, who is accused of involvement in the July 2012 shooting death of Brian Schiavetti, 21, a Villanova University student from Ridgefield, Conn., in what law enforcement officials have described as a drug deal gone bad. Pitts had also attended Villanova University, and was a player on the school's football team." Hat tip to Brian Ewart
Cooley Continues Providence Turnaround ... inRecruit reports that Class of 2014 small forward Jalen Lindsey has committed to Providence. Lindsey developed a good relationship with head coach Ed Cooley ever since his staff made him an early priority for the Friars. Lindsey, 6'7 180 lbs., also considered offers from Louisville, NC State, and other D1 programs and is rated 4 stars by both ESPN and Rivals." NBC Sports' Rob Dauster adds, "The turnaround isn't yet complete, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that isn't going to be raving about the job that Ed Cooley has done in his first two-plus years at Providence. Cooley's team is only going to get better. In addition to finally getting a healthy Kris Dunn, the best point guard and a five-star recruit in the Class of 2012, back next season. Cooley will be bringing in four-star recruit Brandon Austin and will get transfers Carson Derosiers (Wake Forest) and Tyler Harris (NC State) eligible after sitting out last season. Cooley went out and landed another top 50 recruit on Monday night, as Jalen Lindsay, who is ranked 48th in the Class of 2014 by Rivals."
Finally, a Drug Policy Tougher than Nova's? ... ESPN reports, "Auburn has dismissed guard Shaq Johnson from the basketball team for violating unspecified team rules. Auburn police arrested Johnson early Thursday morning and charged him with possessing less than an ounce of marijuana, a misdemeanor, said Lee County Sheriff Office spokesman captain Corey Welch. Coach Tony Barbee announced the sophomore's dismissal on Thursday. Barbee says he is "very disappointed in Shaq's choices and actions, and they won't be tolerated."