With tensions running high as the Big Ten readies its attack on the Big East and Big 12, Host Madison.com reports that "former NFL commissioner, Paul Tagliabue, has been hired by Big East commissioner John Marinatto to advise the Conference. The Big East's normally circumspect coaches, as well as Marinatto, are making it clear they don't intend to sit idly by as their brethren get gobbled up. "Everything is on the table for us," Marinatto said when asked if the Big East was contemplating its own cable network. With Tagliabue’s help, we are undertaking an analysis of all of our assets to determine what is the best route for us to go." Jay Wright spoke out in support of the Conference, saying "Everybody said, `It'll never work,' but it has been very, very successful. Now everyone, it seems, is trying to copy that. It just shows the value of our universities, or our programs and of our markets." [Editor's Note: I like that the Big East is going on the offensive. Indiana and Prodigal Son Boston College would be nice additions to the Conference.]
The #11 Villanova Mens' Lacrosse team lost Saturday to #14 Georgetown by a score of 15-9 in windy conditions at Villanova Stadium that seemed to bother the Cats more than the Hoyas. The loss likely ends Nova's 2010 NCAA tournament hopes.
Bleacher Report announced its 2010-11 preseason top ten, with Duke topping their list. Big East teams finding their way into BE's Top 10 include #5 Pitt, #7 Georgetown, and #10 Villanova. About Villanova they say, "it’s Malik Waayns’ time to shine at point now for Jay Wright's Wildcats. Sophomore Mouphtou Yarou adds great toughness in the frontcourt, and Isaiah Armwood and Corey Stokes can stroke it from long range. [Editor’s Note: Sometimes Bleacher Report has some good insights. This one, however, is way off the mark. How could you discuss Villanova without mentioning Corey Fisher at PG?]
NBE Basketball.com ranked the incoming recruiting classes of all 16 Big East teams for the 2010-2011 season. Villanova is ranked #6 behind Syracuse, Connecticut, Georgetown, Marquette and Pittsburgh. About Villanova, they write “Despite Markus Kennedy deferring admission until 2011, the Wildcats still bring in Jayvaughn Pinkston and James Bell for immediate impacts.”
Bleacher Report assessed Scottie Reynolds prospects going into the NBA draft. "Size, as always, is an issue. In Reynolds' case, it's the size of his body that is the concern—and the size of heart that may be his greatest asset. Reynolds is not horribly undersized, listed at 6'2" (although that may be an exaggeration) and 195 pounds, but the trend of point guards in the NBA is towards the larger and more physical prospects. Reynolds is a prolific scorer but will have to rely on his teammates and become more of a 'true' point guard rather than the slashing-scoring machine that he was in college in order to have success at the pro level. Reynolds had only 3.3 assists per game and will be urged to share the wealth more often when on the court with other high scorers in the NBA."
"Reynolds is, in essence, in NBA purgatory. He does not have the height for a shooting guard and will have to hone his passing and ball-handling skills in order to find success at point guard. What Reynolds does have, in spades, is intangibles. Reynolds has a fiery demeanor and is a fierce competitor. He plays hard on both sides of the court and only stops when the whistle blows. Although Reynolds is not a highly touted prospect by any NBA teams, he has the determination and the work ethic to contribute off the bench and may see himself on a starting lineup within a few years if he can improve his ball skills."
Philly.com reported that Villanova's Athelete of the Year, Matt Szczur, put baseball on hold to donate blood cells to help a one-year-old baby girl with leukemia. "Szczur was informed Wednesday by doctors at Hahnemann Hospital that he could not play in last weekend's three-game series with Georgetown because he began taking medication, Neupogen, to increase his blood-forming cells. He’ll also miss this weekend's three-game series at Rutgers, next Tuesday's home game against Temple, and next Wednesday's home tilt against St. Joseph's. He'll be a welcome addition upon returning to the lineup. That's because the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder has a team-leading .435 batting average in 36 games. The preseason all-Big East selection also leads the team in slugging percentage (.634), doubles (11), triples (six) and home runs (three), and is expected to be selected in June's Major League Baseball draft.” [Editor's Note: Scottie may have been the face of Nova basketball, but Matt Szczur is becoming the face of Villanova. He exemplifies all that is good about our alma mater.]
Sportsnetwork.com named Villanova’s Senior QB, Chris Whitney, among its 10 best FCS signal-callers with the following commentary: “Let's see, who to get the ball to? Matt Szczur, Aaron Ball, Angelo Babbaro. Well, the defending FCS champions are also in good shape when Whitney opts not to give it to someone else. The 6-2, 230- pounderthrives on physical play, just missing the 1,000-yard rushing mark last season with987 yards and 10 touchdowns. As a passer, he was 159-of-247 for 1,936 yards, 18 touchdowns and five interceptions. The All-CAA Football first- team quarterback is an intense competitor who jump-starts the Wildcats' offense. He is 25-5 as a starter, with each loss coming against a Top 15- ranked opponent.”
The Boston Herald reports that Patriot’s Coach Bill Belichick had “no problem recognizing Ross Ventrone as the younger brother of former Patriots special teamer Ray Ventrone after observing his playing style and personality,” Just as current Browns player Ray Ventrone did from 2005 through 2008, his brother, Ross, is trying to earn his way onto the Patriots. Also a former Villanova safety, Ross had 73 tackles and a 59-yard fumble recovery for the Wildcats. Ross received some advice from big brother, who is two inches taller and 10 pounds heavier. “He just told me, ‘Work your butt off, study up, control what you can control, work as hard as you can, make things happen.’ ” With a spot on the practice squad as the best possibility, Ross said, “Anything they need of me, I’ll do.”
The Milwaulkee Journal Sentinal reported that The Packers brought in 28 players for weekend tryouts, including former Villanova star, ILB Osayi Osunde. [Editor's Note: We could not find any reports on how Osayi did at the tryout.]
In September, Villanova favorite son, Dwayne Anderson, signed with the German Bundelisga team, MEG Göttingen, one of the top teams of the BBL League. KLX.com reports that "MEG Göttingen defeated Kransye Krilya from Russia in their first year of international competition last week to complete a Cinderella run to the Europe Challenge Cup, a 32-team competition made up of the best teams from all of the European professional leagues. Dwayne Anderson, who plays guard, averaged 10.9 points on 63% shooting and grabbed 7.0 rebounds per game. He was named to the 1st Team of the Europe Challenge Cup."
Oregonlive.com ran a feature on another Villanova favorite son, Dante Cunningham, asking readers to comment on whether the Blazers should bring Dante back next season. "Dante was selected by Portland as the 33rd pick overall of the 2009 NBA Draft. Entering second and final year of his rookie contract, Cunningham is set to make $762,195. Last season, Dante impressed the Portland coaching staff withhis versatility, rebounding, toughness, maturity and basketball IQ. 'He's a very confident guy who plays hard and he's not afraid to mix it up with anybody,' Blazers coach Nate McMillan said earlier this season. 'I think he's a young professional, and you don't see a lot of those guys.' A self-described "tenacious defender and rebounder," Cunningham is also pretty automatic with the midrange shot (49.5 percent from the field this year)."
"Dante completed his rookie season averaging 3.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.2 apg and 11.2 mpg in 63 games (two starts). He posted his first double-double with 13 points and a career-high 11 rebounds April 14 vs. Golden State. He scored in double figures in three straight games (Feb 9 - 16) and scored a career-best 14 points (7-12 FG) on Feb. 9 vs. Oklahoma City. He tallied 10 points in a career-high 31 minutes Feb. 1 vs. Charlotte. He scored in double figures in six games and rabbed five or more rebounds in 13 games."
Almost 6,000 Portland fans responded to Oregon Live’s poll with 98% saying Dante should definitely come back next season. Here’s a sample of their comments:
- “I really like this kid’s game. Should have absolutely seen more PT. There is a HUGE difference between these four year college kids who played under a great coach and a great program like Nova’s compared with guys who have only a year or two of college."
- "Dante's hustle and ability to hit the mid-range jumper should have led to him seeing far more floor time than he did as a rookie. He's rock solid, makes very few mistakes, and really improves the team when out there on the court. "
- "My favorite Blazer!! He is already a very good all-round player. We would have been better if he had played more. Looking for him to be a 16 point, 8 rebound player. Go Dante!!!!!!!!!!!"
- [ Editor's Note: the Blazer fans seem to love Dante as much as we do.]
TruthAboutIt.net reports that “the Washington Wizards soon must decide what to do with former Villanova star, Randy Foye, who is at the end of his rookie contract. The Wizards may make a qualifying offer ($4.8 million for ‘10-11), thus making him an unrestricted free-agent. Randy is a decent shooter. Not that his 41.4 FG% would reflect that, but it was an improvement over 40.7% in Minnesota the season before. His ‘effective field-goal percentage’, which accounts for three pointers, was 46.4% this past season. However, on offensive possessions which required more decision-making or skill, Foye did not produce as well. Randy started 38 games for the Wizards, averaged 24 mpg, 10.1 ppg, shot 41% (35% 3-pt), 89% from the charity stripe, had 3.3 apg and 1.3 TO.
With the Vinny Del Negro era now over in Chicago, it’s time for the Bulls to find a new coach. ESPN.go.com feels "John Calapari is a possibility and, while a long-shot, there are six reasons why Calipariis the right guy for the Bulls right now: 1. He was Derrick Rose's college coach at Memphis. 2. He is close friends with superstar free agent LeBronJames and could give the Bulls a chance to land the free agent. 3. He has a relationship with Worldwide Wes, who could help land other top free agents. 4. He is a master recruiter, and could sell the Bulls to prospective free agents. 5. He has the experience. 6. He has the cachet. [Editor's Note: If Calapari jumps to Chicago, would Michael Gilchrist reconsider Nova?]
The Niagara men's basketball program announced the addition of Kyle Neptune as the team's assistant coach. "Neptune spent the past two seasons in the Villanova basketball program, working as an administrative intern under head coach Jay Wright. He coordinated all the video scouting components of the Villanova program during the past two seasons, including a trip to the 2009 Final Four."
ESPN.go.com reports that Connecticut’s Jim Calhoun "announced himself physically and emotionally fit in signing a new five-year $13 million contract that settled any questions about his health or plans for the future. Apparently an agreement was never in question by either Calhoun or athletic director Jeff Hathaway. The first of the five years will be retroactive to last season, leaving Calhoun’s contract set to expire June 30, 2014."
NJ.Com reports that Mike Rice, formerly Robert Morris’ coach, has replaced former Villanova Assistant Coach, Fred Hill, as Rutgers head basketball coach. "Before Robert Morris, Rice served as an assistant coach under Jamie Dixon at Pittsburgh. 'Mike Rice would be a good candidate for any job,' Villanova coach Jay Wright says of Rice, 'He’s got great passion. He’s a great teacher. His teams are very disciplined. He’s got some great concepts. We’re going to steal some for next year.”