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Player Preview: James Bell

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The transition from high school to college is tough enough already, with academics, living on your own, etc.  For freshman guard James Bell, his adjustment to college life will be even harder, as stress fractures in both of his legs required him to undergo surgery on September 8th.  As a result, Bell won't be playing basketball anytime soon.  From what I've read and heard, it sounds like this injury will keep Bell out months as opposed to weeks.  With all that said, this situation has redshirt season written all over it, although nothing is official.   

Bell's biggest asset is his athleticism and high-flying play -- so a couple of stress fractures to his legs almost will assuredly detract from his efficiency until he can fully recover. We all want him back as soon as possible - but we want a fully healthy James Bell - not one struggling throughout the season, or more importantly, his career. Basically, we want this:

 


I don't necessarily see this as a negative for the freshmen from Montverde Academy (Orlando, Fla), who averaged 18.3 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.3 steals in high school.  The backcourt for this year's Villanova squad is loaded with the likes of Corey Fisher, Corey Stokes, Maalik Wayns, Isaiah Armwood, and Dominic Cheek, who all saw significant playing time last year.  Would Bell really have seen a lot of time this year?  It's possible, but now, Bell needs to focus on getting healthy and fitting in with his teammates, even though he won't be directly participating on the court. 

If in fact he does redshirt, he should be able to see the game from a different perspective, one that may be hard to adapt to at first, but can be extremely valuable in the end.  You hear all the time from athletes who miss a season for whatever reason that they see the game in a different light watching from the sidelines in street clothes.  It allows the player to soak it all in without having to worry about the intricacies of facing an opponent, the daily grind of practice, and much more. 

Furthermore, for the majority of competitors, they come back very hungry and with a chip on their shoulder, so I would expect nothing less from Bell. 

Regardless of how long Bell is out for, if he can turn the situation into a positive through a solid work ethic, Villanova basketball can reap the benefits down the road.

You can follow James on Twitter here.