While the others slept, Mike and Brian were the first off the ball with this week’s top two stories – Tyrone Johnson’s commitment to Villanova and Matt Szczur signing a minor league contract with the Cubs that allows him to return to Villanova to help the Cats defend their football national championship.
Zagsblog quotes Derrick Bobbitt, Tyrone Johnson’s mentor and assistant AAU coach, as saying, "if Ty continues to improve at the rate he’s improving, he can have an immediate impact as a freshman," Bobbitt said. "He’s a relatively big guard who can keep pressure on the defense a lot like Rajon Rondo with his play-making ability on the offensive end and can potentially create havoc on defense with his length and athleticism."
PressOfAtlanticCity.com reports that it was the "Chicago Cubs who first came up with the idea to offer Matt Szczur the chance to play baseball and football, said Matt's father, Marc. It was something Szczur and his family spoke about, but didn't think could happen. "It was sort of breaking his heart to leave Villanova," Marc said. "I think down the road he might have had second thoughts about leaving. Then, when they came with that deal, he seemed so relieved." This opportunity actually gives Szczur more options. He signed with the Cubs through the summer. He will play football and then could decide to declare for the NFL draft. He wouldn't have to report to the Cubs until next February. He also said that he has taken out an insurance policy in case he gets injured playing football for the Wildcats.”
ESPN.com wrote a feature on 56-year old former Villanova assistant coach, Mitch Buonaguro, finally getting another shot at head coaching after 20 years, when he takes the reins at Siena next season. “When Buonaguro was last a head coach, the first President Bush was living in the White House."
"When Fran McCaffery punched his successful mid-major ticket into high-major work at Iowa, Rollie Massimino got on the phone. "I didn't just call the AD; I called three or four people up there," Massimino said. "Of all the assistants in the country, there aren't many that can do what he can do. He's smart, he's loyal and he's genuine. Mitch deserved this." Massimino wasn't the only one who thought so. Villanova coach Jay Wright called D'Argenio with the same opinion. Everybody was rooting for Mitch on this one. Everybody," said Wright "He's a very selfless guy, which is unusual in this profession, but he's also very well-respected. He's a great motivator, a great recruiter, an outstanding X-and-O guy but also just a really good person."
Bleacherreport.com explores the top destinations for free agent and former Villanova star, Kyle Lowry. “In a slim point guard market led by marquee names like Jordan Farmar and Raymond Felton, teams hoping to fill the position have minimal options. Just before the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their players, the Houston Rockets did just that for point guard Kyle Lowry. Lowry opted out of his $2 million contract, but hopes to remain in Houston and win a starting spot as a restricted free agent."
Where will the former Villanova player land? Houston wants Lowry back. The Rockets took out an ad in The Houston Chronicle declaring Lowry and Luis Scola as "key pieces to a team on the rise." The Indiana Pacers also have shown interest in Lowry."
RecordNet.com reports that "former Villanova star, Calvin Byrd ‘93, is returning to University of the Pacific as an assistant men's basketball coach. After graduating from Villanova, Byrd played professional basketball in the Atlantic Basketball Association and in Switzerland. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach at his alma mater, St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in 1996 where he was a McDonald's All-American in 1989. After two years at the high school level, Byrd moved on to his first NCAA Division I coaching job at UC Irvine during the 1998-99 season. From 1999-2001, he was an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco. Calvin then spent four years with the Pacific from 2001-05. Byrd helped the Tigers to a school-record 27 wins in the 2004-05 season. He moved on after the 2005 season to take a position at Loyola Marymount. After three seasons with the Lions, Calvin returned to the University of San Francisco, where he was for the last two seasons before rejoining the Pacific coaching staff."
Columbian.com reports that "the Blazers expect the void left by the draft-day trade of forward Martell Webster to be partially filled by second-year forward Dante Cunningham. The former Villanova standout made a strong impression last season, due to his maturity, confidence and basketball intelligence. As a result, Portland hopes Cunningham will be able to replace Webster in locking down an opponent’s top small forward, while possibly handling shooting guards."
Bleacherreport.com reports that the "New York Knicks are desperate to rebuild. They say that in addition to pursuing LeBron, the Knicks should then focus on Randy Foye. Coming from the four-out, one-in offense at Villanova, Foye has a chance to excel in D’Antoni’s offense. He’d have the shooters on the wings he didn’t have while he was with the Wolves. Foye has the potential of a player that bounced around the league while finally finding the right coach (Larry Brown) in the right system (Detroit Pistons) at the point guard position. That player was Chauncey Billups.”
BleacherReport also posted a list of the 10 undrafted players who will make waves in NBA camps. At the top of their list is Scottie Reynolds. They write, “Of anyone whose stock fell on Thursday, the most tragic story has to be that of Scottie Reynolds. Reynolds may become the poster boy for the "leave college whenever your NBA draft stock gets high" camp. He turned down the NBA draft after a phenomenal freshman year, despite being in the lottery conversation, to come back and solidify his draft status as a sophomore. While he led his Villanova squad to the Final Four in his junior year with one timely lay-up, Reynolds earned himself a reputation as a volume shooter during his college days. As scouts had more time to dissect Reynolds' game, they saw a combo guard who played too little defense and shot at too low of a percentage to justify a lofty draft status. Reynolds may never evolve into an NBA All-Star, but he didn't dominate the Big East for four years without some basketball talent. As a career 37.2 percent three-point shooter, Reynolds has the scoring prowess to earn himself a bench role on an NBA squad if he can improve his efficiency, and he'll begin the process in the NBA summer league.”