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Commencement: Thanks and Congrats

Every year in May, Villanova holds a commencement to recognize the students who completed the requirements of their chosen degree. This year, salutes those graduating seniors.

Academically, the Class of 2010 was one of the strongest in Villanova's history. Applications increased drastically every year and acceptance rates declined to match. These graduates are some of the most-accomplished young men and women the University has ever enrolled and the ceiling on their future achievements is limitless.

The Class of 2010 saw a lot of ups and downs during their tenure at Villanova, but unlike older classes, these graduates never saw their 'Cats lose to a division II school like Chaminade. They never saw a basketball season that ended after the Big East Tournament and never had to hope for an NIT berth to keep the season going.

This class celebrated the school's first ever National Championship in football as well as one in women's Cross Country (the 17th and 18th in school history). They watched a basketball team go to a Final Four for the first time since 1985. In all, the Class of 2010's tenure coincided with one of the most successful periods in Villanova's athletics history.

In particular, the athletic achievements of the following graduating seniors were notable:

Russell Wooten:

Though Russell only spent two years on the roster and never averaged more than 1.4 minutes per game (playing in 22 games over two seasons). He spent two years as a practice player after being a 1st Team all-conference player at St. Augustine high school in Chula Vista, California.

Wooten came to Villanova without a scholarship offer and volunteered to work out to help the scholarship players develop. By providing opposition in practice, Wooten helped strengthen the basketball program from behind the scenes.

In the 2008-2009 Final Four season he played in 14 games, seeing a total of 21 minutes and recording two rebounds. In the 2009-2010 season, he played in 8 games and scored the first points of his college career.

Russell picked Villanova not only for basketball, but because of his interest in the superior academics. He will graduate with his Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology.

Reggie Redding:

Reggie came to Villanova after a legendary career at St. Joseph's Prep, where he was the school's all-time leading scorer and was named first team All-Philadelphia Catholic League as a senior. Reggie had scholarship offers from NC State, Boston College and Pitt, but chose Villanova over all of them.

After being a stud scorer in high school, Redding was asked to become a defender at Villanova. It took hard work, but by his Junior year, he was heralded as the team's best defensive player and a key starter on the Wildcats' run to the Final Four.

Reggie Redding won the 2009 Paul Arizin Award for most improved player on the Villanova squad, and went on to share the 2010 Most Outstanding Player award in his senior season.

Reggie worked hard to earn his minutes at Villanova like Dwayne Anderson before him.


Scottie Reynolds:

It is hardly necessary to summarize Scottie Reynolds' career. In addition to 2,222 points career scoring (2nd in school history), Reynolds had 482 assists (6th) and 203 steals (4th). Perhaps more impressively, after playing 139 games in a Villanova uniform, Scottie Reynolds is tied with Dante Cunningham for the school record of most games played.

Scottie is practically a sure thing to have his jersey hanging from the rafters some day. Winning the Most Outstanding Player award for the 2009 NCAA East Regional, as well as being named a consensus first-team all-everything as a senior, Scottie's career was among the most-decorated in school history.

As I wrote for the blog Ballin' is a Habit, Scottie came to Villanova as a great hope for a program that had just lost 75% of the best backcourt in America. His role changed over four years, from the wild scoring machine to an efficient team leader.

Regardless of all of the statistics and honors that Scottie won over the years, he will always be the player that took Villanova to the Final Four by sheer force of will.


Congratulations to ALL of the Members of the Villanova Class of 2010.