Welcome to our 2011 Villanova basketball season preview. We're going to be previewing a player per day from here on out - which will take us right up to the first exhibition game against New York Tech. Today, we preview incoming freshman Achraf Yacoubou.
This is going to be a new look Villanova Wildcats team this year - a team that will sport 5 new faces as a new era of the program is set to begin with the graduation of the winningest senior class in the program's history. Freshman guard Achraf Yacoubou will be one of those new faces for Jay Wright's team.
The 6'3" 195 lb. shooting guard from Brookville, NY comes into a crowded backcourt situation at Villanova, but may be the most physically ready of the Wildcats freshman to contribute, at least on the defensive end.
More on Ash after The Jump.
Yacoubou plied his trade from Long Island Lutheran in New York, and was given a 3-star rating by both Rivals & Scout, while ESPN rated him as a 4-star prospect. Ash was named the 2011 Gatorade New York State Player of the Year after averaging 19.9 points and 9 rebounds a game for Lutheran.
Yacoubou is going to find most of his playing time early on in his career for his defensive work rate. Physically, he's ready to compete at the Big East level (not something many freshman guards can say), but offensively, he still needs some work. He was labeled as a great shooter coming out of high school, but don't think we've got the next Corey Stokes. While Ash can stroke it, he's much more of a streak shooter than a sniper right now.
What's nice though from the highlights of the Blue-White scrimmage is that while the ball isn't glued to his hands like Wayns, he has shown the ability to get to the rim as well. With his strength, he should be attacking the rim often when he's out on the floor.
With both James Bell and Dominic Cheek looking ready for an increase in minutes and production this year on the wings, Ash might find playing time hard to come by once we get to the meat of the schedule and the rotation is trimmed down.
With Villanova's newfound propensity to get in foul trouble in recent years though, he may find himself called upon in some important games, and it's vital (especially defensively) that's he's ready to contribute if that comes to fruition.
What are your thoughts and expectations for Achraf Yacoubou this season?
When we're back tomorrow, we'll continue cycling through the freshmen when we preview Darrun Hilliard.
Previous player previews: