Villanova Week In Review - August 3

Kelly Kline / Under Armour

Chris remains on oxygen and bed rest after an exhausting week covering all of the breaking 'Nova recruiting news. I recap those developments and everything else Villanova in this edition of the Week in Review.

Booth Votes ‘Yes' for ‘Nova ... VUHoops' Chris Lane reported that 4-star, Top 100 prospect 2014 PG Phil Booth picked Villanova over Georgetown, Indiana and Temple. VUHoops' Mike Jacobs then posted his own version of the Week in Review by providing links to coverage of the story in the major media outlets. If you don't have the time or inclination to check out all of Mike's links, here's a recap of the more noteworthy quotes:

  • Rob Dauster of NBC Sports writes, "Booth is a good get for Wright. He can play point but is also comfortable as a primary scorer. Guards of that ilk - Randy Foye, Allan Ray, Scottie Reynolds, Corey Fisher, Ryan Arcidiacono - have had success with the Wildcats."
  • Reggie Rankin of ESPN.com Insider ($) writes, "With Booth and Mikal Bridges in the fold, Villanova moves to No.8 in the 2014 class rankings. Booth is a good athlete who can excel on and off the ball in the backcourt. With the ball in his hands he displays an excellent basketball IQ, makes good decisions and possesses the ability to knock down shots. Off the ball he can stretch the defense with the threat of his shot-making and range from beyond the 3-point arc. . Defensively, Booth is a good on-ball defender and is usually in the right position away from the ball as well."
  • Andrew Koob of City of Basketball Love nabbed this assessment from Booth's high school coach, Pat Clatchey, "He'll be a terrific college player; from a physical standpoint he has the ability to make others around him better," Clatchey said. "I don't think he has a lot of weaknesses. I think he can help a team win in a lot of different ways." "I'm excited that he committed here, said future Nova teammate Mikal Bridges. "I've seen him play a lot and he's a real good player."
  • Ryan Hood of The Baltimore Sun writes, "According to Phil Booth Sr., Wright not only connected more with his son than any other coach, he also reached out to the Booth family as a whole and took a real interest in getting to know and fostering a relationship with them. "You know a program wants you when, not only do the assistants work their tails off, but the head coach heads up the recruitment."
  • Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, ""When I first told Jay Wright that I attended his overnight camp as a 12 year old, he was shocked," Booth III said."...It's great to come here now, I could never imagine this."
  • Brian Snow of Maryland blog, TurtleSportsReport writes, "This is the third commitment for Villanova from the fertile Washington D.C./Baltimore area in the last two years. The Wildcats were able to snag Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart in the class of 2013."

Villanova Basketball Players return for the day...

What Was Jay Thinking? ... Here's a few of Coach Wright's more noteworthy tweets this week:

You Can't Dance at Everyone's Wedding ... With the good news about Phil Booth, VUHoops' Chris Lane reported that two other top 2014 ‘Nova recruits set their sights elsewhere shortly after Booth's announcement. He writes, "In somewhat of a shock, Philadelphia guard Ja'Quan Newton trimmed his list to a final six schools, and the Villanova Wildcats did not make the cut." The six finalists are UCLA, Oregon, Syracuse, Minnesota, Miami and Texas A&M." Adding insult to injury, a second target, Robert Johnson "announced his final seven schools via Adam Zagoria's blog. The final group, in no particular order are Pittsburgh, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Florida State, Miami and Georgetown."

Yet the Cupboard is not Bare ... Notwithstanding a rather curious comment from Phil Booth who said, "[It] looks like 'Nova is all set for the class of 2014," Jay Wright still has at two scholarships at his disposal. With Newton and Johnson out of play, the greatest need now to bolster the front line. 6-9 230 pound Martin Geben is reportedly ‘Nova's top remaining 2014 target. The Cats are competing for Geben's services with three schools -- Virginia, Maryland and Notre Dame. Jay also has been active recruiting beyond 2014. "VUHoops' Chris Lane reports, "Malachi Richardson, a 6'5" 195 lb. shooting guard from Roselle, NJ, has been offered by the Villanova Wildcats. Richardson, who already holds offers from the likes of Indiana, Georgetown, Syracuse and Kansas, among many others, is considered one of the elite prospects of the 2015 class. Rated 4-stars by Rivals, 247sports and Scout (as well as 5-stars by ESPN), Richardson is ranked as high as 11th nationally. VUHoops' Mike Jacobs adds, "Back in February, we noted that Jay Wright had extended Gil St. Bernard's (NJ) freshman Tyus Battle a scholarship. Villanova hasn't let down since then. According to Inside the Hall, 'Nova and Indiana are recruiting the 6'5" shooting guard "the hardest". The rising sophomore is ranked #7 in the Class of 2016 by ESPN, has a 6'9" wingspan and considers "getting to the basket and on the ball defense" as his strengths."

Keep My Friends Close and My Enemies Closer ... Andrew Dzurita of 247Sports writes a feature about Villanova 2015 target wing Josh Reaves. He writes, "Linking up with Team Takeover for the July live period, Reaves traveled with the 16U team to the Nike Sweet 16 Invitational at the Peach Jam, among a number of other events. Reaves has seen his recruitment pick up. The Nittany Lions recently offered Reaves after following his progress through July. Dwayne Anderson is already utilizing his contacts to make headway on the recruiting trail. "Coach Dwayne said they really love the way I play. He really loved the way I stepped up when we were losing players to injury, and my competitiveness." The other two programs to get in early were Villanova and VCU, who have both extended offers in the past month and a half. He was originally scheduled to visit Villanova in the next week, but the visit has been postponed because head coach Jay Wright wasn't going to be on campus."

Scholastics, Sports, Shrubbery and the Arts - An Elusive Balancing Act for Villanova ... After the disastrous 2011-12 season when Villanova went 13-19 in men's basketball and 2-9 in football, Jay Wright and Andy Tally seemingly have turned things around this season. Things have not gone as well for other more pressing priorities of the administration. In May, the Radnor Township Planning Commission rejected Villanova's request for a zoning change that would allow a major expansion of the campus with new dormitories, a parking garage, and the much-ballyhooed Performing Arts Center. However, the crushing blow came this week. After reallocating $22.5 million from the Upgrade Villanova Football Campaign to the Transformation of the Campus Landscape Initiative, Villanova failed to make the grade on Best Colleges list of the 50 Most Amazing College Campuses for 2013. A Villanova Trustee, speaking off the record, told us, "The Best Colleges list is a sham. Our shrubbery blows away Bryn Mawr (#45), Sweet Briar (#41) and Gettysburg (#23). I find little solace in the near-certainty that we can kick their asses in football and basketball." [Editor's Note: Villanova has amped up its beautification efforts in an all-out effort to make the 50 Most Amazing Campuses list next year. To that end, the Administration has reallocated an additional $5 million from the athletics budget to fund hardscaping around the President's residence and hired the Knights Who Say Ni to perform a comprehensive reassessment of the campus shrubbery.] Hat tip to Brian Ewart


Cats Could Win the Big East ... Shand McCarthy of PlayForTheGarden writes, "[Last season,] Coach Wright righted the ship after a rocky November and got his squad to compete with the best in the Big East on a nightly basis. Now he welcomes two high-profile recruits to go along with a sound foundation that features two players (Arcidiacono and Pinkston) who will compete for Big East First-Team honors. The squad may not be very long, but they can defend and they should see an improvement in their offense over last year. Villanova likely won't be anyone's pick (including my own) to win the re-configured Big East, but I can't say I won't be surprised if they do." Hat tip to Brian Ewart

I Feel Strongly Both Ways ... Trevor Lowry of Rant Sports writes, "The Villanova Wildcats will be a very tough team to predict in the 2013-14 college basketball season. I am going to go out on a slight whim and say that the Wildcats finish in fourth place in the conference standings. They could easily finish higher and they could easily finish lower. [Editor's Note: Talk about going out on a limb.]

Villanova Opens Battle 4 Atlantis against USC ...Associate Press reports, "In the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis, Villanova plays Southern California and first-year coach Andy Enfield, who led Florida Gulf Coast on its NCAA tournament run in March. The Kansas-Wake Forest winner will meet the Villanova-Southern California winner in one semifinal on Nov. 29."

Don't Miss the Battle of the Blue ... VUHoops' Mike Jacobs reports, "Tickets for that Villanova Football matchup against Delaware the 2013 installment of the Battle of the Blue at PPL Park went on sale on Thursday. Prices range from $21 to $36 for the November 23rd game. [Editor's Note: Perhaps we should think about buying a block for a VUHoops gathering?]

‘Nova LAX Stars Have Shot at US Team ... Villanova.com reports, "Rising senior John LoCascio, 2011 graduate Brian Karalunas, 2012 graduate Kevin Cunningham and 2013 graduate Jack Rice were among the players selected to tryout for the United States Men's Lacrosse National Team late next month. The foursome will compete with 94 of their peers during the August 30-September 1 trials that will be held at Goucher College in Towson, Md."

Home is Where the Heart Is ... Brandy Simms of The Sentinel reports, "After a one-year stint at Villanova, Raphael Chillious officially has re-joined Lorenzo Romar's coaching staff at the University of Washington. Chillious was a vital member of Jay Wright's staff at Villanova last season when he helped lead the Wildcats to a 20-14 record including a 10-8 mark in the Big East. "It was hard leaving those guys last year," said Chillious, "but now I'm back."

Cheek Sighting ... Josh Newman of Asbury Park Press writes, "As [former Villanova player] Dominic Cheek gets set to embark on his second campaign across the Atlantic, he decided last week to make the Jersey Mike's Jersey Shore Basketball League a regular occurrence before he leaves. "I just heard it was great competition down here," Cheek said after scoring 24 points and 11 rebounds for previously-unbeaten Larson Ford. It's not too far from Villanova, there's a lot of alumni around here and hopefully they'll come out and show some support." Last spring, Cheek surprised a lot of people by declaring for the NBA Draft. "It was real difficult to make that decision but if I could do it over, I would do the same thing. Villanova supported me the whole way and they'll always be family to me." Cheek played for AS Monaco of France's third division last season, and will be heading back to Europe this season, although he doesn't know where yet."

Redding / Pena Sighting ... The Daily Times reports, "Reggie Redding and Antonio Pena both had the scoring touch for their Delco Pro-Am basketball team Wednesday night. The Villanova products dumped in 19 points apiece to lead fifth-seeded Omega Medical to a 63-61 quarterfinal-round victory over No. 4 Take Your Game To Another Level." Josh Verlin of City of Basketball Love adds, "The atmosphere was fantastic, with a few hundred people crowded around Court 2 to watch the game. More than just a rematch of the 2011 Delco Pro-Am title game, it was also something of a Big 5 grudge match. Omega Medical's roster is heavily dominated by former Villanova Wildcats: Maalik Wayns, Kyle Lowry, Antonio Peña and Reggie Redding, who all started the game. Meanwhile, a trio of TYGTAL starters-Dionte Christmas, Mark Tyndale and Mardy Collins-are three of the best Temple Owls of the last decade. [Editor's Note: The semifinal game will be held at Haverford College on Saturday, August 3 at 6PM and the championship will be held on Sunday August 4 at 7PM.]

Villanova Alum Hired by 76ers ... Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, "The 76ers announced that Chris Heck has been hired as the franchise's chief revenue officer on Monday. The Villanova graduate was recently the president of business operations for the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. He will be in charge of revenue growth regarding corporate partnerships and ticket sales." Hat tip to Brian Ewart

Not Looking Good for E-Z Ed ... We previously reported that the Chicago Bulls granted permission to the 76ers to interview former Villanova great Ed Pinckney for their head coaching position. CBS Sports reported this week that "Trail Blazers assistant David Vanterpool has emerged as a top candidate for the Sixers." According to VUHoops' Brian Ewart, a source close to the situation said that Pinckney withdrew his name from consideration.

AAC Means Tougher Competition for Temple ... Gary Lasarcino of inRecruit writes, Temple has been overshadowed throughout the years; mostly because of the success of Villanova and that they played in the Atlantic-10. This year Temple is moving to the newly formed American Athletic Conference, which will have teams like UCONN, Memphis, and Louisville who will move to the ACC after this season. While some believe Temple's run might be over, the Owls always find ways to remain competitive. The change to a new conference means tougher competition, but given Dunphy's success and impressive wins in the past, Temple is ready for this next challenge.

Some Bulldogs Have It, Some Don't ... Kami Mattioli of Sporting News reports, "Georgetown's mascot-in-training, a bulldog named J.J., took the reigns from the school's previous mascot, Georgetown Jack, in April 2012. Georgetown issued a statement today declaring that poor J.J. is unhappy in his role on campus. J.J. will relinquish his mascot duties, instead enjoying the comforts of a traditional bulldog life at home. It is unclear when J.J. will be replaced, but it sounds as if the school is intent on finding another live mascot. Deadspin reports that a Georgetown spokesperson said one of the reasons for J.J.'s early retirment was an incident this fall in which J.J. injured a small child" Hat Tip to Brian Ewart

SBNation Rivals are Partnering to Feed the Hungry ... SB Nation Fan Communities BloggerSoDear.com and BCInterruption.com announced today a fan initiative for Wake Forest and Boston College fans that will benefit Boston's Greater Boston Food Bank and Northwest North Carolina's Second Harvest Food Bank. Fans can donate money on the popular crowdsourcing site, Crowdtilt.com. The winner of the Boston College and Wake Forest football game on Sept. 6 also determines which food bank wins 51% of the donations collected. The "losing" side will receive 49%." Hat tip to Brian Ewart

Tweaking the Bracketing Principles ... "The NCAA men's basketball selection committee is tweaking the bracketing principles for the 2014 tournament. The committee is expected to protect the "true seed" -- where a team stands according to the committee's 1-through-68 ranking -- and that doesn't jeopardize that seeding in order to avoid conference or non-conference repeat matchups. The new number of at-large berths is down to 36 with the split of the Big East and the American Athletic Conference, meaning that there are now 32 automatic qualifiers. The Big East's automatic bid went with the Big East, and the American must get its AQ bid formally approved by the Division I sports-management cabinet, according to a source." Hat top to Brian Ewart

You Like Bigs? UC Irvine's Got a Big For You ...inRecruit's Vishnu Kaimi reports, The 7'5" Mamadou Ndiaye in his limited time has shown characteristics of a star. The combination of his height with a 8'1" wingspan provides him with the overreaching arms that help him dominate his opponents. Ndiaye is just one of a string of tall players who look to make an impact on college basketball this coming season. With his height, Ndiaye will become the tallest player in college basketball. After another solid season on the court for Brethren Christian in which he averaged 27.1 points, 13.7 rebounds, and 4.5 blocks per game during his senior year, Ndiaye officially committed to play for UC Irvine."

Hail Szczur ... Knoxnews reports, "After 12 innings of back-and-forth action, it all came unraveled for the Tennessee Smokies in the 13th. The Smokies gave up four runs in the inning and fell 9-6 to the Birmingham Barons on Tuesday night at Smokies Park. [Former Villanova two-sport great] Matt Szczur went 2-for-7 with two runs scored. Bleacher Nation reports that Szczur made "an absurd diving catch" in the game, as captured in the video below. For the season, Szczur is hitting .280 with 55 runs scored, 38 RBIs and 20 steals on 30 attempts in 98 games. His on-base percentage is .349.

Oh, Remember Dwayne Getting Married? ... Another VU Hoopster and current NBA player was the Best Man. Hat tip to Mike Jacobs

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