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The most devastating blow to Villanova's 2010 NCAA championship hopes happened long before tournament time and well before BIG EAST conference play even began. When news out of Puerto Rico reached home that Mouphtaou Yarou, the most highly touted big man to hit the main line since Jason Fraser, would be sidelined indefinitely due to Hepatitis B diagnosis, fans were not just scared for the season but scared for his his life and career.

After fighting admirably and regaining his health and fitness, Mouph rejoined the team in January and tried to work his way back into the rotation. While contributing solidly at times (especially down the stretch when his minutes increased), Yarou struggled to find his role on the team and, for reasons almost entirely out of his control, was unable to deliver the freshmen season that many had hoped for.

Coming into this year's campaign, it will be crucial that he seizes minutes in the rotation immediately, as his development and presence inside will prove critical to whether or not this team is just a bunch of skilled guards who are fun to watch or if they are a championship contender.

More on the big guy after The Jump.

Mouph possesses the size and skill to one day be a first round NBA draft pick and in spurts last year he showed why. After receiving starter's minutes in the first two games, it took Yarou 13 games (almost two full months)  after returning to get back over 20 minutes a game. What was most telling about Mouph to this author was that his two best personal games in tough spots where the upperclassmen disappeared and he was needed to carry the team (13 pts, 8 rebs, 2 blks, 22 minutes vs. Syracuse in front of 34,616 at the Dome, 17/8/3/26 min. vs. Robert Morris in that mess of an NCAA game).

A friend of the blog attended Wednesday night's V Club event at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC and said that the team and staff were genuinely excited about Mouph being at full strength after having a healthy pre-season to get ready. I'm not sure if he will start from day one, but that was the initial plan last year and I think this team will be best served to get him his 20-25 minutes a game.

A key for Mouph's success, which fits in line with the entire team’s, will be staying out of foul trouble (both of the games mentioned above he had 4 personals in) and staying on the court.  He can be an absolute physical force on the defensive end of the court and this dynamic is something that can neutralize the Big East front courts that abused us last year.

He can single-handedly reduce team fouls by just being on the court, allowing players such as Antonio Pena and Isaiah Armwood to play against players more their size. This will greatly help overall team defense and despite this writer ironically coming to his defense last season, something tells me losing this guy won’t hurt us on that end either.

For the first time since this blog has existed, we have a legitimate offensive threat in the post and a player, that if developed properly, will be a huge part of every other team's game plan. Just imagine what the guards will be able to do if the other team’s entire week isn’t spent preparing for them.