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Hoops Mania Recap

Here's a little recap. Anyone else who was there please add anything that I don't have up here since there's no way I'm going to remember everything that happened...

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Updated

The night started with Howie Long and Terry Bradshaw up on the big screen, talking some 'Nova pigskin as well as 'Nova hoops. I thought getting Mr. Long involved was pretty awesome personally. After Coach Talley and the football team took the floor to try to get everybody hyped for the game tomorrow, the basketball related festivities began...

Everything started with the  introduction of the 1982 NCAAW Final Four team, the only Women's team to reach the Final Four in Villanova history. After that the current Women's Basketball team was introduced, and greeted by the members of the 1982 team that were able to attend.

Because this night was really about celebrating Final Four teams both past and present, the 1939 team was celebrated. Paul Nugent came out to represent the 1939 team, but he led the team in scoring in I believe the semifinal game against Ohio State. Then the 1971 team was celebrated, with multiple players from that team attending. Finally some of the 1985 champions came out onto the floor, Pinckney not among them, and received a hearty amount of applause/noise from the crowd. Even though most of the people in the Pavilion were students, you can tell that Villanovans take great pride in the 1985 team. Each of the Final Four teams, including the Women's 1982 team, had video montages from the tournaments.

I believe prior to the video montage for last year's team, Dante Cunningham came onto the big screen with a message for everyone and was met with a considerable amount of noise. During the highlights of last year's run, there were points where the crowd cheered almost like the games were happening, particularly during some of the huge moments of the Pitt game. Definitely a really cool atmosphere.

After the highlights, a limo drove up into the Pavilion and stopped. First man out was Frank Tchuisi representing last year's team and the crowd went pretty nuts, then Shane Clark came out. Finally Coach Wright came out of the limo and addressed the fans, who started chanting his name. All of the players from last year's team (with the exception of D.A. and Dante for obvious reasons) then were introduced and came out, including Mo Sutton. Russell Wooten looked like he was having a lot of fun, and Fish and Stokes got a considerable amount of applause. The crowd obviously went wild when Scottie was introduced. Everyone, including some assistant coaches and video people, came out to see Coach Wright, Tchuisi, and Clark and got their rings and hugged everyone. Reggie Redding, who was sitting courtside but did not participate in anything, did not get his ring during the ceremony.

After they were finished giving out the rings, Scottie Reynolds gave a little talk to the crowd and the new players for this season were introduced. The first out was Taylor King I believe, who came out in his McDonald's All American jersey, took it off, placed it on the V at the center of the court, and got a new Villanova jersey (I believe from one of the '71 or '85 players) and put it on. Each of the freshmen then repeated this, with Wayns and Cheek rocking their McD's AA jerseys and Mouph and Armwood wearing their Montrose uniforms. Everyone got a very solid ovation, with Mr. Yarou getting a "Mooooouph" chant that should become quite common before he is done wearing blue and white. After the entire team was introduced, the dance team came out and joined the entire team in their rendition of the "Thriller" dance. I have to say it was pretty well rehearsed and the team did a good job with it, the crowd enjoyed quite a bit.

After the entertainment (besides tonight's performer) was concluded, the dunk contest began. Participants were Scottie, Mouph, Cheek, and Armwood. Each player got 30 seconds to do their dunk, the top two players moved on to the second round, and then the top dunk of that round was champion. Pretty short, but still entertaining. Mouph started things off and tried to do a between the legs dunk on the baseline that he couldn't pull off, and ended up just throwing one up and bouncing it off the ground for himself, which was not nearly as impressive as his first dunk would have been. Cheek struggled as well with a complicated dunk and just ended up doing a two handed flush. Scottie and Armwood both impressed on their first dunks (anyone who remembers them well throw them out there, I know Scottie rocked a Foye jersey for his first dunk but that's all I remember) and went to the finals. Scottie took off from the Big East logo, and while Armwood struggled trying to pull of his jam wearing a football helmet doing something down the baseline, he ran back past halfcourt and took off from just inside the free throw line which brought down the house and led to him winning, which I think all of us expected. Cheek looked incredibly athletic in warmups even though he didn't convert much during the contest, though that was evident in the video Mike posted. Again also obvious in the video, but Scottie looks much more athletic. I wouldn't be shocked if he plays his way into the first round of the NBA draft this year, given that was always the knock on him.

The scrimmage then followed, just a simple game to 30 with halftime when a team got to 15. The white team consisted of Fish, Stokes, Cheek, Armwood, Mouph, and Wooten  while the blue team had Wayns, Scottie, King, Pena, Sutton, and Colenda. At the start it seemed like neither team really wanted to get the ball into the paint so nobody got hurt, which is quite reasonable in my opinion, and the majority of the first 10 or so shots were threes, with the first 5 or 6 shots going for misses. Fish knocked down a couple of threes followed by a Stokes three to give the white team the early lead, they controlled through the 15 point mark, around 22 or so the blue team came back and made the game close, and they ended up pulling it out on a drive by Scottie at the "next point wins" juncture. It was a sloppy game with quite a few missed shots and some bad turnovers, but that's to be expected at this juncture I think.

During the game, I thought a few players looked quite impressive. For starters since I know a lot of people did not expect this, Antonio Pena looked very good. Coach Wright praised him and I have to agree, he looked about as good as I've seen him. 'Tone was rebounding the ball probably better than anyone else around, played very solid defense including on some guards on the perimeter (almost looking like Dante Cunningham out there), scored some points in the paint, got fouled once or twice, and got some good looks to his teammates. In fact, the forwards as a whole looked pretty solid dishing the ball, particularly Pena and King. Overall Pena's play was very encouraging, it's only one outing but if he performs like this during the season it will give the younger guys some more time to develop and it's always nice to have a good big on the roster anyway. Hopefully it carries over to the season, because he looks like he could be very valuable this year.

Fish looked fantastic shooting the ball from behind the arc where I believe he was 3/5, got into the paint and got fouled, finished with contact once, and really did a nice job picking his spots. He played much more in control than he has in previous years and looks like his game is very, very mature compared to when he came in as a freshman. He did a nice job containing Wayns defensively as well.

Corey Stokes gave good effort out there and nailed a couple threes I believe, really busted his hump on the defensive end where he was matched up with Mr. Reynolds a good amount, and hit a pretty jumper from inside the arc as well. He didn't showcase much of the driving to the basket that he talked about in the offseason, but a lot of players shied away from playing inside since they probably don't want to hurt each other in a preseason pickup game.

Scottie's shot wasn't falling early, but he still got points attacking the bucket, flashed a little bit of a midrange game that looked nice though I think he missed the jumper, and gave his typical effort. At one point when Fish was dribbling up in transition Scottie dove from behind him to try and get a steal, though Fish showed good awareness and crossed it over to the other side. Loved seeing that from Scottie though, as long as he doesn't get hurt doing it. As Dwayne Anderson would say "Villanova basketball." Colenda and Wooten gave their typical effort out there, though they did not see too many minutes on the floor.

For the newcomers, King looked pretty solid rebounding the ball and can also shoot the ball very, very well. He should be a good addition to the frontcourt and I think will get some solid minutes. The team setup had him playing the 3 with Mo and Pena in the frontcourt for the blue team, but I think he may end up playing some 4 this year also and could have success there against smaller teams. Just looks like he has the bulk and style of play to fit there, though his shooting ability will definitely stretch defenses. Definitely was one of the more impressive players during the brief scrimmage.

Mo Sutton got up and down the floor really well, even leading a fast break at one point and looking pretty good doing it. He got a few boards, contested shots, and got up for two potential ally-oops, one of which he got fouled on and the other one he converted. Definitely has some nice raw athleticism and should be a good player before he's gone and a contributor this season. Also got fouled inside at another point and knocked down both free throws, showed some nice touch. He's a talented guy for not being very highly recruited, think he's a real sleeper in years to come.

Wayns looked great leading the fast break and made some very nice passes in transition and in the half court. He's always got his head up looking to make a play. Knocked down a three too if memory serves, and as everyone does he looked focused on the defensive end. I'd go as far to say he looks like the best pure point guard on the roster and probably is the best passer of our guys there. He'll find ways to get minutes.

Armwood has always struck me as a guy who gets what Villanova basketball is about, and while it make take him some time to make a big impact he showed some real signs of that understanding today despite also showing his youth. He picked up some ticky tacky fouls, particularly under the basket, but looked like he was going pretty hard for boards and loose balls. Popped some jumpers outside that he missed, though he did knock one down towards the end of the game, and I believe got to the stripe at one point as well. Contested shots very hard as well, and did a nice job when I watched him fight for position inside on the defensive end. Didn't get opportunities to finish in transition which is where he should excel, but it was a short game. It could take a year or two, but seems like a guy who will be a fan favorite (or at least a favorite of mine) and a true Villanova player and he'll do some nice things this year also.

Mouph Yarou struggled at some points but also showed why he is so highly thought of and has such immense potential. Picked up some fouls under the basket contesting shots and also got a goaltend, but he really looked tough inside and it's going to be tough for other teams trying to get layups with him in the game. Popped some shots that were not fantastic and turned the ball over some, but that's going to be part of his adjustment to the college game. He also flashed a really nice handle driving to the bucket and decent tough from the stripe though he can improve from there. Some fantastic footwork inside on one play also which he converted for a layup, really showed why he has so much potential this game despite some struggles.

Cheek looked pretty solid, I believe he knocked down a three ball and also had a nice finish with contact. He's a lanky guy who is going to be very valuable on the defensive end, I believe he had a goaltend as well. Looked solid offensively, his shot looks nice and he looks like he's added some strength so finishing inside may not be the kind of problem that some would have thought. He's a really interesting guy in that he contributes on the boards and blocking shots and is basically a forward on the defensive end, but really shows some nice guard skills on the offensive side. Should definitely contribute some this year.

As for recruits I saw quite a few there, although I was unfortunately sitting behind them at a pretty bad angle so I could not really tell who was there or who was enjoying themselves. The one thing I did see was Cory Joseph sitting there and looking relatively entertained at one point. The crowd really did nothing to get the attention of the recruits which was somewhat disappointing, though there was a lot of focus on past teams so there were not many times that yelling to recruits would have been appropriate. Hopefully they still had a good time and have a good feel for what Villanova is all about and know that they'll be loved by fans for years to come if they have success here (which I'm sure they will). A friend of mine did notice what looked to be some recruits and their families walking into the Davis Center after things ended, so perhaps the coaching staff was putting on a presentation or they were meeting with the team or something. All told though I though it was a pretty good night in the Pavilion, the crowd really got rocking at points, so hopefully even though they were not the centers of attention they went away impressed!

That's all I've got! Add to this in the comments, I'm sure there's a lot more that can be said so those who were not able to attend have a good feel for what went down.

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