The most important member of this season's team, Corey Fisher enters his senior year on the cusp of something really special. A solid performer throughout his career, Fisher constantly (and quietly) played second fiddle to Scottie Reynolds for 3 full seasons, despite showing signs that he could take over games and individually dominate.
The consummate team player before, Fisher will now be asked to impose his will on games and lead this team both on and off the court. Is he ready for this? While this is up for debate, Fisher's season will be intriguing on many levels. If he stumbles, this team could be nothing more than a middling BIG EAST squad that fights just to get into the NCAA tournament, leaving Fisher as an unproven talent likely headed for Europe.
If he continues to develop into a dynamic scorer from the perimeter and in the paint, he will likely drive this team deep into March and possibly hear his name called by David Stern in the 1st round of next summer's NBA draft.
More on Fish after The Jump.
A good place to begin managing expectations for Fisher is to compare his career thus far to Reynolds. It is widely accepted that Corey is the more physically gifted player of the two as he possesses the quickness and athleticism that many felt would always keep Scottie from making it to the next level. While Scottie maximized his talent and did make others around him better, Fisher can score in more ways and can get to his spots on the floor with more ease.
This leads to higher offensive efficiency numbers, a higher assist rate and a better rate at drawing fouls, all areas where Fisher has already surpassed Reynolds. Playing a big role from day 1 his freshman year, Fisher's numbers have improved each year and will no doubt increase again. Expect him to average a Reynolds-like 18 (not quite this many) or so per game but tack on 5.5-6 assists as the ball will be in his hands more than it ever has before.
Undoubtedly, Fish will get the opportunity to put up the numbers that will get him the national recognition he needs to develop some NBA draft buzz but the team's success will depend on the development of his intangibles. Fisher has the necessary swagger to take this team through adversity early in the season and if he, Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena can provide vocal leadership there is potential for great things later on in March. It is a great, and almost somewhat unfair challenge, but because he is the point guard, it will be how he is judged as an individual.
This is the unique opportunity four a 4 year player who has a chance to match his mentor's legacy just one year after; leading Villanova to another Final Four and getting drafted will leave Fisher among the best in school history. Here's to hoping that he is up to the challenge.